Before I picked up the troopers, I had a guy get in and say he was going to Howard Beach, a great ride, but I wasn’t sure how I’d get there. I figured I’d ask him his preferred route and we’d both be happy. However he threw me this curve:
“Hold up, hold up don’t start the meter yet, let’s negotiate, 30 dollars,” he said. “We can chill n’ smoke a blunt when we get there.”
“With the meter on,” I told him, “ It’d be at least 35, maybe even 40, even 45.”
He cut me off at 35, saying he’d pay that, then he was all right at 40, but he made it sound like he was doing me a favor at 40. At 45 he wouldn’t pay unless it was very clear that he wasn’t getting home with me otherwise. It was all too suspect to me, so I told him I wasn’t taking him.
We go by the meter in NYC, and as long as we stay in city limits, it is completely illegal to negotiate a fare. I feel negotiations have a much greater chance of going wrong. People wishing to discount their ride from the beginning may be the type to skip the fare completely if the relationship between the driver and passenger don’t go swimmingly. If we start the ride by not following the rules, who’s to say how far the rule breaking will or will not go?
He asked for me then to be driven to a store where he could buy some cigarettes with the meter off. I took him there as consolation. He asked me once more if I’d wait for him and then take him to Howard Beach. I told him that I’d probably regret the decision, but I wasn’t taking him. I could’ve lied and driven off with him expecting a ride, and I told him he was fortunate to get an honest guy for a driver. He took it well,
“Good lookin’ out kid,” he said as he softly closed the door.
Honestly the Howard Beach thing spooked me a bit because I came across a story on the Internet about a couple who ran out on a cab fare in Howard Beach. The cabbie searched the neighborhood and never saw them again.