East Boston resident tired of cabbies illegally charging tunnel fee - especially when they don't take the tunnel


You're not allowed

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The rules state - pay the fee demanded and file a complaint. I guess you can refuse, but I think that if the cops have to respond, then even though the driver is to blame - you are too.

Sounds like a reasonable request. Granted, so is asking for a little light on top of the cab to show when the cab is free if you are flagging it down. Years ago I called the taxi commissioner on a radio show to ask why we don't have this simple feature on our cabs. He told me the system works fine, look in the back of the car to see if anyone is in there and deal with it.

Last radio call we made the guy took off before we could even get downstairs and then I flagged down a cab that reeked of cigarette smoke and the driver spent the whole time chatting on his cell phone with a family member.

For a few extra bucks we'll be using a lot more Uber services and not of the "cab" variety.


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Sounds like my experience with Boston/Cambridge cabs. I've been moving my $ to Uber as well. A bit more spendy than a cab, but I'd rather pay for a service that works, and than fight with one that doesn't (value vs. cost, and all that).

Ditto for me

We stumbled out of my husband's office party late last Thursday and the Uber limo we summoned via my husband's phone was there by the time we had fetched our coats.

Beautiful car, leather seats, fresh cold bottles of water, clean ... whooshed us straight home.

Made me wonder when the hell I got so damn spoiled, sitting there in the black limo with my lover, dressed up fancy, soused on expensive booze and watching the city lights fly by.

I don't think I've ever had that feeling in a cab.

Total cost was $40 from the South End to Meffuh - only about $5-10 more than parking at work and then at the party would have run.

We tried ...

Dude waved it off - "tip included".

(this was after we tossed a $10 on each of the two bars for tips on all the free drinkies on our way out the door, so we were in that mood)

Funny you ask - because we were both kind of trashed, our kids "reminded" us about tipping as we climbed up the stairs.

Walk of shame!

I'm impressed!

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You're a good girl! I'm glad to see you got one of the good drivers. I might sign up for Uber this week, as I'm starting to get bored and they've been sending me e-mails saying they really need the help, so I'm glad to see it's working out. So next time you use Uber you may be getting me! You'll know me by the black fedora.

Will Uber show up at 12:30

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Will Uber show up at 12:30 and not charge the tunnel fee? I haven't been taking cabs and leaving parties early so that I can get home on the subway but haven't tried Uber yet.


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My understanding is it depends on the availability. However, apparently they have added a "request a cab" feature - so if no nearby limos - I guess you can settle on a cab and they are participating. As Swirly says above - for the extra $5-10 it's a sweet ride and not too expensive for the infrequent ride - especially if you are out for a nice night and dressed up.

I've never out-and-out

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I've never out-and-out refused, but I call them out on it all the time, and they always fold. Well, so far, at least.

With the exception of one trip, every time I get into a cab from downtown to EB begins the countdown until the imminent "Hey. My friend, my friend..." about halfway through the ride.

I just politely remind them that no, I don't have to reimburse them for the tunnel. That usually shuts them up, because they know they aren't supposed to charge, and they have a fare who knows that, too. Better luck next time.

(Of course, by that point I've already surreptitiously jotted down all of their info on my phone.)

The one cabbie who didn't ask got a nice tip (pretty much paying his return toll on top of a normal tip, and then some), and then a little sympathy on my part, as we agreed that it's BS to put it on either of us.

My experience has been different

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Usually if I'm hopping into a cab in Eastie I'm running late to get to my job with the punch clock where eventually late minutes = fired. There is precious little time to haggle anything. Every cab from my neighborhood begins the conversation with "You're paying the toll" after I ask if their credit card machine is working and if not their cab is operating illegally. It's too much drama and I dread it. I will try your line to see if I get a different result.

I've also started using Hailo from my phone (https://hailocab.com/boston/) and have had good, no drama results when their cabs are available.

I wish I was better at managing time to avoid cabs and just avoid this issue altogether. Tomorrow is another day!

Take it out of the tip

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When the cabbie is taking advantage like that I take it out of the tip, I live in Chelsea and hear it all the time.

If you have a smart phone,

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If you have a smart phone, pull up the taxi law in a browser. I don't have a URL offhand, but a quick Google search re: one-way trips to East Boston will yield something to quote. Although I've never had to recite it to them.

There was a guy, some months back, who refused to pay the toll and the driver went a little nutso and instead of backing down, brought the fare to the A-7 station. They did not find in the driver's favor.

I believe the story was on this site...

Why does the Boston Hackney

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Why does the Boston Hackney Division not impose any penalty on drivers besides making them refund the toll?

In Cambridge, cabbies get hit with $300 fines all the time for violations a lot less serious than illegally overcharging people.

sorry, but to take a cab and

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sorry, but to take a cab and stick the driver with the tunnel fee is a dick move, whether you are entitled to do so or not. I mean what would you think of a person who had his buddy buy him a concert ticket for the sake of his own convenience, then say he would only pay him half of the cost because his sister works at ticketmaster and could get him deal?

give the cabbie his money you cheap bastard.... I mean your rent/mortgage already reflects the fact that you are separated by a tunnel from the rest of Boston, and you get cheap access to the airport. The least you can do is not screw over a cabriver

Sorry, one of the conditions

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Sorry, one of the conditions of being a licensed taxi is charging the legal fare. And the law says no toll applies from trips from downtown to East Boston.

...except that the passenger

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...except that the passenger isn't technically sticking them with anything. That's between the cab operators and the powers-that-be. If it wasn't, why is there explicit verbiage stating the the customer is not on the hook for it?

I'm not saying it's right (and if a driver isn't a total dick, I'll sometimes go half with them)... it's just not my problem.

I think a good chunk of the resistance on the part of the customer comes not from cheapness, but rather how the driver broaches the issue - as if they are trying to fleece the customer. I imagine a more honest approach would find some customers a little more sympathetic.

(Most of these guys seriously have zero game. Halfway through the ride they suddenly announce "Oh... I need to charge you extra".)


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I wish I had a dollar for every time I've had to fight with a cabbie about the fee. I just gave up and stopped taking cabs unless necessary.

I live in Chelsea. So you bet how responsive Boston Cabbies are when you say you have to go there from downtown. Then if I don't tell them to take the Tobin and not the tunnel, they not only tack on the tunnel fee, but also the MassPort fee (which should ONLY be charged if I'm going to the airport)

Cabs in Eastie going to Chelsea? Same deal. I get charged a tunnel fee even if they are only going over the Meridian Street bridge. They tell me "I have to go back into Boston and use the Tobin" Um.. You CAME from Boston, East Boston is still Boston.

Like I said I just avoid cabs altogether if I can help it.

What gets me is.. some of them immediately add the fee(s) on to the fare box so if you aren't quick, you won't notice them. Or they add them on to the end. The thing is, the Hackney office KNOWS they are charging for them. Of course no GPS or real logging (they are suppose to but don't) so the BPD Hackney has no idea if the fee charge was valid or not.

You are getting ripped off!

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The only time a cabbie can charge you the Massport fee is if he picks you up from a terminal at Logan. That is the only time he pays the $3.25 Massport fee. They cannot charge you that to go to Logan.

This is why I'm glad to see Uber starting to become more popular. This is why the cabbies are up in arms about it. No more ripping people off and they don't like it. Plus when you get an Uber car , you're supporting small business, as each driver is an independent operator like myself. They own their car. It's in their best interest to give you a clean car and to know where they are going. Cabbies in this town have taken the I don't give a fuck attitude long enough and now this is what they get.

Tunnel toll

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I understand people being upset with cabbies charging for the tunnel fee if the passenger is exempt.
I just don't understand why cabs are being charged more than regular cars for using the same tunnel and bridges. Has anyone here ever seen an explanation for this? The increase in cost is going to be passed on to customers 1 way or another.

Simple Solution?

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Get the regs changed so cabs and other livery get a pass on the tolls. If worried about loss of revenue, have a standard fee for tunnel/bridge use built into the RMV fee for livery licensing, then proprietors can decide how to disperse that charge in ways that keep it more hidden and less likely to upset; slight raise in rates across the board, perhaps, rather than a large one-time charge to specific customers.

(I know - WAY easier said than done.)


I don't need an explanation.

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I don't need an explanation. The reason is obvious:

Gouge people taking cabs from the airport.

In my experience, the Boston

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In my experience, the Boston Cabs will usually tell you when you get in and state your address, "That'll be an extra fee for the tunnel." At which point you can contest it, agree to pay it or get out for another cab who might not charge you. We contested it once and they guy waived it without issue or any cops involved. I've never heard of the cops being called on you! Good thing to watch out for, I guess.

Most, if not all of the time

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Most, if not all of the time cab drivers charge me a flat rate of 20-25 dollars (once even 30) if I tell them East Boston. I've only had two that used the actual meter and its cost me around 11 dollars..I pretty much only go out around Fanuiel Hall and I live by the Maverick T so it's relatively close, and the cost difference is really annoying.

I tell them that they can't charge me and ask for a receipt but either their machine is 'broken' or they don't even put the meter on because of the flat rate they've charge me. I pretty much always use MetroCab too..

Its been so frustrating that I don't even look forward to going out because I know my cab is going to be wicked expensive and a hassle.

I don't think that's legal

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I'm pretty sure they are required to use the meter and you are only required to pay what's on the meter. If the meter rate is zero I'd tell them the ride must be free and if they don't like it they can call the cops. I think you have to be going outside Boston for flat rate rides and those are regulated as well.

This really happens? I would think any cab driver pulling this would learn a hard lesson really fast.