NYC cracks down on stinky cabs, but PIX finds they’re not that bad

Posted at 7:41 PM, Mar 06, 2013
and last updated 2013-03-06 19:41:25-05

If you have ever taken a ride in a New York City cab, there’s a chance you’ve been in a dirty, smelly one.

“They just need to freshen it up in there man before they let people in!” one rider lamented.

Another tried to describe the taxi “aroma” as nicely as possible. “The best way to describe it on TV…it smells like urine.”

It seems that almost everyone has a story of riding in a less than fresh cab. City Council member David Greenfield demanded at a recent Taxi & Limousine Commission budget meeting that there be a crackdown on dirty cabs.

Greenfield told a story of a person forced to stick their head out the window of the cab to breathe because the smell was that bad.

But, when we randomly checked the backseat of cabs on the West Side today, most were very clean.

“It better be clean! This is our living to put people in the cars. It’s very necessary,” said one driver with a rather spotless cab. “Keep it clean and everybody is happy.”

A spokesperson for the TLC confirms this sentiment: from January 2011 to today, they have received only 218 complaints. And with more than half a million cab rides per day in NYC, Bhairavi Desai, the Executive Director of the NY Taxi Workers Alliance says those stats speak for themselves.

“When you think of how many strangers get in and out of the cab, it’s remarkable how clean the drivers keep their taxis!”, Desai says.

Most of the cabbies we spoke with say they keep their cabs clean and that they want to impress you not with their sights and smells but with their service and cleanliness.