I can't tell you how many times it's happened to me. I stand there, in the rain, or in the snow, or on a perfectly beautiful spring day and I hail a lit cab, and it just drives right on by me. OK, so perhaps the cab driver didn't see me standing there, waving my hands around so hard I look like a crazy person trying to land a plane. Or maybe, something else is going on.
Then, just as I am about to give up and walk to the nearest subway, my attempt to flag down a driver is finally victorious. He pulls over to the side of the road, and I walk over to open the door. To my surprise, it's locked, and I stick my head by the window to ask him to let me in. Before I get the words out of my mouth, he nastily shouts, "Where are you headed?" I answer quickly, "Flatbush Avenue, Brooklyn." He shakes his head no, and drives away. I'm left standing there, confused by what just happened.
Alright, so maybe it's just Brooklyn. Maybe they just don't want to go over the Manhattan Bridge, even though I am already down in the Financial District and in actuality it's only about a ten minute trip. So I try again, this time heading uptown from the village. Once again, the door is locked and before I even step out onto the street, the driver asks me where I am going. As soon as I tell him my destination, he shakes his head no and drives away.
I was under the impression that the cab driver had to take you where you wanted to go, if they stop the car for you. Especially, if you are already sat down and buckled in. In fact, my fiancé sat in the back seat of a New York City cab a few weeks ago, and firmly held his ground on this subject as the cab driver said, "I am not moving, so get out of the cab", when my fiancé requested a location that was clearly not on this driver's approved list of stops. He sat in the car and told the driver what he was doing was illegal, and the driver still refused to drive him to his destination.
Am I just imagining things? Have I gotten a few years older and grown more impatient, or is this happening a lot more than it used to? Maybe I've just been hailing more cabs lately, but I truly remember four or five years ago that it was a lot easier to get where you wanted to go. I didn't notice the locked door approach until a few months ago either.
I run into this problem at least once a day, every day (that I hail a cab) regardless of time of day or weather patterns. It happens if I am alone, or with a group of people. It happens if I am going uptown, downtown, crosstown or out of town. It's not safe, and most of all I am pretty positive it isn't legal.