Fighting back against cabbies who refuse to take credit cards

SuperMark reports that when his cab driver told him after an $18 ride that his cab's credit-card reader was broken, he told the guy he only had $8 on him and that he was breaking the law by driving around with a busted reader. Miraculously, the cab driver managed to get the reader to work.



      Free tagging: 


      I've had them claim "they don't get paid"

      After the American Craft Beer Festival this year, my fiance, best friend and I took a cab over to Kennedy's from the SeaPort WTC. On the way we discussed among us who would pick up the tab; my fiance and I decided we would after seeing there was a credit card reader in the cab. So upon arrival, we swiped, and got our receipt. At this point, the cabbie starts telling us, "NO you didn't pay". We informed him that we used our card, swiped and showed the receipt. He tried telling us that he wouldn't get paid, etc. When we pressured him as to why he wouldn't, when we had proof of paying he was clueless. When we pushed the issue, ("What do you want us to do?", "We have verification that we paid your fare", "By the way, we're not tourists, we live here") the cabbie relented. It did, however, feel like we were the recipients of an attempted shakedown.
      Does anyone know if they (cabbies) receive a reduced percentage of the fares paid by credit card? That's the only reason I could image for their apparent reluctance to have riders utilize them.

      there is a fee of ~6%

      By on

      basically the credit card company charges the owner of the card machine a percentage of the purchase price. i believe that for the cabs in boston, it's about 6%. so it is one of the reason the cabbies don't like it.

      They also can't skim

      By on

      They also can't skim fairs.

      Pay with cash, and they can pocket a couple extra bucks claiming fairs were lower. Now, they're forced into a system to really documents everything that goes on about he ride, and they don't like it.

      I don't see why that would

      I don't see why that would make a difference. The fair is set by the meter whether you pay cash or plastic. The cabbies can't change the result of a meter audit.

      I have yet to encounter a cabbie who didn't at least pretend the machine was broken much of the time. They clearly are trying to discourage use of the machines. I think the issue is the service fee charged by the bank, and it is a legitimate complaint because they are required by law to provide service for what amounts to a discounted rate (by how it impacts gross fare revenue). I don't blame them for wanting people to still pay cash. That said, I value the ability to pay by credit card enough, that I'm happy to tip more than I would if paying by cash.

      Credit Charges ... or why Fares went UP!

      They were given a raise in fares to compensate for the anticipated loss of revenues to credit. Now they think they can shake down customers and get more.

      Boston needs a big crackdown on this bullcrap.

      Right, but they still make

      Right, but they still make less than they would on a cash fare. Think about the mom and pop restaurant that decides not to accept credit cards so that they can avoid the fee. They do this on the belief that the fee harms their gross receipts more than the loss of a few customers looking for the convenience of plastic. Right or wrong, it is their choice. The cabbie doesn't have that choice. And we can quibble about fair increases, but keep in mind, that the cabbie also has no choice on that matter. He is required by law to charge a set rate whether or not it is an economical market rate.

      That set rate was adjusted

      THEY GOT A RAISE IN FARES THAT MORE THAN COVERS THAT 6% and they have no excuse to whine. They get more on the cash fares now than they did before ... and they more than break even on the credit fares. So what! They are NOT ENTITLED to shake people down, lie to people, yell at people, and threaten people to get that extra 6% as a cash fare!

      Sorry, Henry but I'm not buying it ... poor lying greedy cabbies ... not. I'd be willing to have the fares raised again if so many of them weren't being greedy about it. They can grow up and ask for a fare increase, or STFU.

      You know, a woman was raped after she went to an ATM late at night because a Boston Cabbie played the "credit cards don't work" game. Think about that!

      You have a habit of not

      You have a habit of not reading people's posts before going off on your rant of swirley wisdom. What you don't get is that the fare is regulated. It doesn't matter whether it was increased, the cabbie has no ability to set the rate. Is it really so surprising that they would try to game the one kink in the system? Not saying it's right, but given the constraints they face, it is hardly surprising. As for the bit in your last sentence, that's pretty irrelevant to the larger point. But I know you deal with flagrant strawmen, and this is a good one.

      Who isn't reading?

      You can't even comprehend the subject line that I wrote above:

      that set rate was adjusted

      You can't possibly gear up your brain to grasp that I would write that AT THE TOP because you insist that I must somehow "not understand" just because YOU can't tell the difference between "disagree with you" and "don't understand"? Really?

      FTR, I shared a house with a bunch of people who would drive boston cabs 24 hours a day in shifts on breaks and weekends. That's right ... SLEPT and ATE with people who drove cabs! Far closer than you've ever been to that life, I'm sure. Would have done it myself had I not been too young.

      Fine. So you like a city where people threaten others illegally to get more cash and shakedown tourists and locals alike because of misplaced notions of "downtrodden". I don't, and the people that I bring here are quite sick of it, thank you. My boss drives in when we have meetings so he can shuttle people after FIVE INCIDENTS of threatening cab drivers refusing credit cards. Fine ... maybe my business will relocate if the lame continues ... and others won't come here at all.

      LOL, you're funny.

      The subject line was irrelevant. That's the part you don't get.

      But go ahead with your patented duck, dodge and belittle bit. It's quite amusing if not convincing. Yes, no doubt your life experience, educational background and beauty all prepare you for the only possible understanding of the situation. We can check off the life experience card with the part about living with cabbies. Anybody you haven't showered and eaten with? Let me know when you are ready for the other two.

      And the last paragraph, that's swirley gold! Nobody ever said threatening was okay, but see how many other words you can put in my mouth. Or, you can go back to my posts, read, comprehend, and respond. Just don't go off on another disconnected rant designed to prove that only your thoughts on the matter merit approval. It is a sad cry for attention. "Look at me world, I'm relevant, I'm so relevant that I'm more relevant than you!"

      Nice try

      You are an apologist for people who are acting illegally and often threaten and harass toward that end, and you are trying to make us feel sorry for them despite the fact that they did get an increase in the base fare that more than covers the difference.

      Don't even try using phrases like "they're just gaming the system the only way a poor fishmonger cab driver can" when you know damn well how that operates in practice.

      Feel free to point out my

      Feel free to point out my endorsement of harassment and threats. Go ahead, find it and quote it for the rest of us. After you fail, go to and check out the word explanation, then cross check with apology. You'll find these words do not share a meaning. Finally, I'll give you a line you may have missed in one of my earlier posts:

      Not saying it's right, but given the constraints they face, it is hardly surprising.

      That's about as close as I got to suggesting the behavior was appropriate. Go ahead, look for something else, but you won't find it. You're smugness is tiresome and does nothing to serve any point you may be trying to make.

      Almost forgot!

      I'll save you some time and conceed that Portland has a far better taxi system. They all happily take credit cards, have bike racks and offer free transfers to the downtown circulator. Wow, what a relief we can agree on that!

      Wrong again Swirly

      "Boston needs a big crackdown on this bullcrap."


      It's one thing for private businesses to say they won't accept cash as payment. State legislatures are free to enact laws against that. It's another for state budget resources to be used to enforce penalties against businesses that refuse to accept credit cards.

      You are an apologist for the usurers.

      And this is me laughing at the threat that the company you work for would leave Boston because of the cabdrivers.

      They have to wait to be paid

      Not sure how long ... it might be up to a week. Just like us hourly folk.

      The real difference is that they can't report lower tips than they actually get, and they don't immediately have the money.


      By Jimmy on

      They main reason they prefer cash is for tax cheating purposes. Credit/debit card purchases leave a clear paper trail, making it difficult for them to steal from the government.

      Wrong Jimmy

      No, it's definitely the 6% fee paid to the CC companies.

      Do you own a company that has to pay those fees?

      Probably not.

      How about, do you work for a company that does?

      Maybe not.

      How about this, have you ever noticed a business that offers discounts for cash paying customers?

      Think about it why they might do that.

      Maybe he was filling in for

      By on

      Maybe he was filling in for some other driver but the owner of the cab (who is not always the driver) didn't know. Perhaps some sort of under the table arangement that didn't mesh with customers using a credit card.


      By on

      It depends on where you are, but most cities nationwide have a problem with this. My favorite was when I took a cab from NYC to one of the airports and had a guy tell me he was going to charge me a 10% surcharge for using a credit card literally as I read the on-screen display and written message in his cab saying that he wasn't allowed to do so. I told him I would call the Taxi & Limousine Commission hotline and see if they could and that shut him up pretty quick.

      I dislike taxi drivers. I

      I dislike taxi drivers. I normally drive/walk/mbta my way to a destination and only use a cab when I have to. When I do I act like a tourist because I am a little confused or am going somewhere that is a little odd but I still know where I am in general and when I am literally being taken for a ride. They sure do not like it when you say "hey why did you take that left, you could have gone straight this will add a half mile to the trip..."

      Twitter me this!

      While it hasnt happened to

      By on

      While it hasnt happened to me yet, if it does, I will simply say "the machine doesnt work? Then get dispatch on the phone so I can give them my number and ask why youre driving around illegally"

      i don't think so...

      By on

      ... i think that went away when they revised the rates. i believe the only additional rate surcharge now is to Logan, although i could be wrong.

      basically i didn't see anything about it on the boston taxi rate page, so i assume it's gone now.

      "sorry no change"

      That's my personal favorite of BS lines that cabdrivers use on cash paying customers.

      "sorry no tip"

      is what you say when you find the exact change for the guy....!