by Jen Chau
That is the thought of New York Times Week in Review writer, Calvin Sims. He remembers that just several years ago, it was much tougher to hail a cab, being a young black male. He wonders if it has to do with law enforcement, the fact that drivers are less discriminatory, or because he is less threatening now that he is a bit older and “well-dressed.”
Now, my friends and I look more mature than we did 10 years ago and, if I dare say, we dress better, which may account for our newfound taxi-hailing success. But numbers make me think that something else may be going on. The New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission’s “Operation Refusal” program, in which undercover officers of different races randomly hail taxis, found in its most recent study a 96 percent compliance rate among cabbies. The commission says the compliance rate has grown consistently since the program was instituted in 1997, when it was 88 percent.
“It’s a better climate today for everybody in the city to catch a taxi than it was back then, no matter what your race,” said Matthew W. Daus, the city’s taxi commissioner. “Drivers realize that the person they refuse to pick up could be an undercover officer and that has reduced the temptation to discriminate.”
Ah, no reason to get happy people, “progress” has been made due to fear of repercussions.