A Chicago man has filed a complaint with the city over a cab driver who allegedly threatened him with a bat and attacked him with pepper spray because he said he wanted to pay his fare using a credit card.
ABC Chicago reports that Bryan Doherty and two friends were picked up by a cabbie near Wrightwood and Orchard in the city's Lincoln Park neighborhood early Sunday.
Doherty told ABC that when they informed the cab driver that they did not have any cash and would be using a credit card, the driver got out of his cab at their stop and threatened the man and his friends with a small bat. He then allegedly proceeded to use a can of pepper spray on him, according to ABC.
Doherty also appears to have taken to Yelp to spread the word about the incident, which reportedly took place in a Flash Cab. In a review posted on Monday, "Bryan D." writes that he asked the cab driver to take them to an ATM so they could get cash to pay their $6.48 fare when "the driver became erratic and insisted that we were trying to screw him out of money" and sped down a street toward "a dark corner," at which point the passengers called 911.
Flash Cab's Yelp page contains other complaints from reviewers who say they were treated rudely by cab drivers when they attempted to use credit cards in their cabs, although Chicago cabbies are legally required to accept cards for payment and, since mid-2009, New York-style credit card touch screens have been implemented in many area cabs.
If drivers claim their credit card machine is not functioning, Efrat Stein, spokeswoman for Chicago's Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection, told the Chicago Tribune last year that they "should have a backup." Stein further encouraged riders to file a complaint with the city if a driver claims they cannot use a credit card.
Still, drivers often prefer cash because they avoid a 5 percent fee that accompanies each credit card transaction, the Tribune reports. Meanwhile, cab drivers are fighting the city for a fare hike to help offset rising costs. The City Council last week made permanent a cab fuel surcharge that had been applied off and on during recent years -- meaning riders will now pay a $3.25 pull fee instead of the current $2.25 -- though other proposals they are seeking, including a $75 vomit cleanup fee, have yet to be considered by the council, NBC Chicago reports.
Clarification: A previous version of this post stated that the recent fuel surcharge was "new." The charge itself has been assessed off and on for several years, but it was only recently made a permanent component of the flag-pull.