The Boston Police Department’s Hackney Carriage Unit has been and continues to conduct “sting operations” at cab stands throughout the city (see Boston Globe Metro section on March 19, 2010). The sting operations are conducted to encourage and ensure compliance with the department’s Rules and Regulations, in this instance, regarding the conveyance of passengers with any sort of disability. A violation surrounding this issue could and can lead to a driver receiving a suspension from anywhere between three to five days.
On Tuesday, March 23, 2010, officers assigned to the Hackney Carriage Unit conducted a sting operation seeking to identify and locate cab drivers for failing or refusing to respond to pick up requests for passengers requiring the use of a wheelchair. As part of the sting, officers, acting in an undercover capacity, called the driver’s dispatcher and made a specific request for a WAV (wheelchair accessible vehicle) to respond to 154 Berkeley Street. In the process of making the call, officers asked for a specific cab, going as far as to describe the vehicle by its medallion number.
After the call was made, officers, operating an unmarked cruiser, trailed the cab as it made its way to the pre-arranged pick up location: 154 Berkeley Street. While en route to call, the cab driver observed an individual looking for a ride. When the individual motioned the driver to pull over, instead of continuing on to the pre-arranged pick up location, the driver pulled over and picked up the fare. Upon seeing this, officers activated their emergency equipment (lights & sirens) and stopped the cab. When asked to explain why he failed to pick up the pre-arranged fare, the cab driver was unable to provide a rational or reasonable explanation. As such, the operator was issued a five day suspension for refusing to comply with existing Hackney Carriage Rules and Regulations.
Said Captain Paul O’Connor, commanding officer of the Hackney Carriage Unit, “It’s important that the cab drivers in our city fully understand and embrace their obligation to aid and assist all passengers, especially when the passenger in question is a person with a disability. In this particular case, the driver did not live up to his obligations and, for that, he’s been disciplined accordingly.”