New York City taxis
New York City taxis - 
Listen To The Story


Bill Radke: In New York City, cab drivers are not allowed to use a cell phone while they drive -- hand held, hands free, doesn't matter. But the Taxi and Limousine Commission says that ban is not working. And they want to crack down even harder. Marketplace's Ashley has our story.

Ashley Milne-Tyte: Despite the existing cell phone ban, New Yorkers like Lisa Zicchinella are used to cab rides peppered with conversation -- the driver's conversation.

Lisa Zicchinella: I don't think that they should use the phone at all while they're driving.

The Taxi and Limousine Commission agrees. Under its new proposals, any driver reported for cell-phone violations three times in 15 months loses their license. Veteran cab driver Spiros Soulandzos says that's going too far. He says he hardly uses his hands-free phone, and never when he has a fare. He's skeptical of the city's motives.

Spiros Soulandzos: This is a good excuse, I believe, for the city of New York to make more money and give more tickets to taxi drivers. This doesn't mean that it's for safety. No, I don't think so, no.

And then we were interrupted...

Soulandzos: Let's see what's going on. [phone rings] I tell you a hundred percent that my wife is going to be on the phone.

She was. But even under the new rules he wouldn't be in trouble for answering. He was parked.

In New York I'm Ashley Milne-Tyte for Marketplace.