Wireless failure affects thousands of NYC yellow cabs

Posted at 6:14 PM, Jan 24, 2013
and last updated 2013-01-24 18:17:40-05

Off Duty.

Yeah,  no kidding.

Hundreds of taxi drivers sat idling along 21st street in Long Island City, desperately waiting for their wireless systems to get repaired or come back online.

Drivers say the problem started Wednesday afternoon around 4:30 with more than 2,000 of the city’s 13,000 taxis potentially affected.

First the TVs and credit card systems went down. Then a few hours later, they couldn’t even log into the system, meaning they couldn’t clock in or turn on their meters.

“I don’t work.  If I can’t log on I don’t start working,” said Nawfel Sayd, a taxi driver.

So many of the drivers lined up outside Creative Mobile Technologies early Thursday hoping to get the problem fixed.

“Anytime I had a problem I have to bring it over here, that’s where they install it,” said taxi driver Pedro Sierra

And that line of fed-up taxi drivers stretched all the way back here to the shadow of the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge, more than 10 blocks away from CMT headquarters on Jackson Avenue.

Even drivers back here say they were waiting as long as two hours.  But with no credit card reader and no meter, they say there really wasn’t much else for them to do.

But after hours of waiting, a spokesperson for CMT told us the problem was out of their hands.

They say the equipment was working fine and blamed the network failure on Sprint.

In a statement the wireless carrier told us they were aware of the problem and that:

“Our engineers are working in coordination with the modem manufacturer and other partners to resolve this issue as soon as possible.”

But drivers say it would have been nice if they’d gotten the message directly so they didn’t have to waste their time.

“Today, we have no business,” said one.

A spokesperson for CMT and Sprint tells PIX11 News the wireless system came back online around 4 p.m. Thursday.  They say they’re working to figure out what caused the problem so it doesn’t happen again.