If you lose something in a city cab, chances are, you’re never going to see it again.
That’s according to a new report by Manhattan
Councilmember Gale Brewer. After losing
her keys, BlackBerry and camera in the back seats of various cabs, Brewer began
an investigation earlier this summer of the Taxi and Limousine Commission’s
procedure for reuniting New Yorkers with their lost belongings. And while
there are those few rare stories of
joyful reunion (it always helps when your forgotten item rings…), Brewer
found that the process is generally frustrating, time-consuming and futile.
Brewer’s staffers compiled a
report chronicling their search attempts for missing items, citing frequent busy
signals, confusing phone mazes, long wait times, and disconnects from the Taxi and Limousine Commission hotline. Unlike
the MTA, the TLC has no centralized lost and found.
That means that you have to wait for drivers or garage managers to return your
lost items directly to one of the city’s eight police precincts—which may never
happen. Even then, your chances of getting them back are slim. You’ll need your
receipt with the cab’s medallion number, (Wait, you forgot that?) and because there’s no computerized database for tracking
lost items, you’ll have to call each of the city’s precincts individually
to search storage rooms. Sounds like a fun afternoon, doesn’t it?
TLC commissioner Matthew Daus has responded by saying that the report is methodologically
flawed and that this is the first time in a decade that he’s heard complaints
concerning the process. However, he said that
the controversial new GPS system that is scheduled to be operating in all
city cabs by early 2008 will make finding lost items a whole lot easier, since
dispatchers will be able to pinpoint vehicles using pickup and drop-off points
instead of relying on medallion numbers alone. Drivers, meanwhile, are still
threatening to strike in protest of the plan.
Photo courtesy of jaqian on Flickr