Fake Ride Hail Company Drivers on the rise
Have you recently been driven by a fake Uber or Lyft Driver around Augusta GA daytime and especially on your weekend night out? There has been an increased complaint by customers saying they were driven by drivers in unmarked vehicles claiming to be working for Uber or Lyft drivers. Sometimes these illegally operating drivers claim to be Taxi Cab Companies. More often in Augusta, there are several people using their vehicles to transport people from one address to another. Some of those vehicles often have signs that read DO YOU NEED A RIDE? Lyft/Uber with telephone numbers displayed on their vehicles. None of them has registered business and are operating illegally. Unfortunately some customers have fallen victim in hands of these law breakers.
A friend who travelled to New York recently found out that this is a very common thing . He narrates “There’s nothing new about New York City “gypsy” Taxi drivers mulling around the exit doors at JFK, trying to solicit business. However, this time they’ve upped their game so it’s even sketchier.
First of all, according to Wikipedia, gypsy cabs in New York are “Illegal Taxicabs, unlike Augusta Cab of GA, Yellow Cab of Augusta or American Taxi Cab of Augusta . Gypsy Cabs are sometimes known as pirate Taxis, gypsy cabs, or jitney cabs, that are taxicabs and other for-hire vehicles that are not duly licensed or permitted by the jurisdiction in which they operate.” I took one once decades ago when I was desperate to get somewhere fast and the taxi line at LGA was stretched around the block. It was fine because I negotiated the fare upfront but I might have just gotten lucky.
But now, it may be hard for some people to identify who’s legit and who’s not. When my family and I exited JFK Airport the other day, I saw at least a half a dozen men standing right out of the exit doors of Terminal 8 (American Airlines) and one was even inside at baggage claim. They all had their cell phones prominently displayed with their home screen lit up, which read “UBER” in large block letters. Obviously, they weren’t Uber drivers but not everyone would know that, especially our older population.
When a guy came up to me asking, “Do you need a ride” I just said, “No, thank you” and kept on walking. But I heard an old lady behind me say, “You’re Uber?” And the man said, “Yes, I am.” That’s when I got pissed and while he was trying to win her over, I slyly walked by her and whispered, “He’s not Uber.”
She later thanked me but if it had been someone like my dad, who can’t hear or see well, they could have totally taken advantage of him with their tricks, which are usually to charge an astronomical fare (if you don’t negotiate it up front) or to not honor the rate you agreed on before getting in, by holding your luggage in the trunk hostage until you pony up more dollars.
But the real reason you don’t want to take them is because there’s no built-in safety net like there is with rideshares. So, how you be sure they have insurance, track their history (unless I’m desperate, I don’t get into an Uber unless the driver has a 4.8 or higher rating and has been driving with the company for a while), share your location with a friend and rate them? Bottom line: They can’t be trusted and it starts with their sales pitch.
Even a New York City hotel where I had a reservation, warned of these drivers in a welcome email to me a couple days prior. One of the tips listed was: “If you intend to come to our hotel by Taxi, we advise you to use official NYC Yellow Cab via Taxi Stand. Avoid illegal solicitation from any other drivers as they may not be charging correctly.”So no matter where you are in the world, you always want to avoid illegal taxis and car services as you just don’t know. I’ve seen them many times hanging about airports and tourist destinations around the world but not many at U.S. airports, except at JFK. I’m not sure why the Port Authority or the NYPD hasn’t cracked down on them but my advice is to avoid them altogether. What you want to do is only get into a car that you’ve either ordered yourself (don’t forget to check the driver’s rating if you’re taking an Uber or a Lyft), take a reputable car service, or take an official Taxi and pick it up from the Taxi line. If you’re at a tourist destination, walk to a nearby hotel and ask the doorman to arrange a taxi for you.
Just few days ago someone called American Taxi Cab of Augusta claiming they must have forgotten their credit card inside one of the Cabs but when asked to give information about the driver who picked them up they claimed the driver was in an unmarked vehicle with DO YOU NEED A RIDE sign on it, and they just stopped the driver who was driving through Broad Street, Augusta GA and paid them very high price just to get home. We could only advise to call his credit card company and replace it.
Another passenger claimed the driver in an unmarked vehicle dropped her off somewhere along Aiken Augusta Highway in SC after He charged her $20 which She paid upfront for $35 trip She took from Aiken area to broad Street but the driver later wanted $55 while they were already few miles on the road at around 215am on Saturday . When She refused to pay the extra $35, he forced her out of the car and left. She luckily found people to come to her aid.
This is a major problem when fake drivers pose as been legit. Hopefully it won’t get worse until something is done about it.
Meanwhile, Call American Taxi Cab of Augusta at +1 706 993 7948 for Taxi, Cab, Cabs near me