Taxi drivers took to cocaine or marijuana at unusually high rates in 2013 — more than doubling the number of cabbies who got sacked for drug use a year earlier, records show.
There were 51 hacks who lost their licenses after testing positive for controlled substances last year — a significant hike from the 20 who were canned in 2012 and 34 in 2011.
This year, 16 drivers have already had their Taxi and Limousine Commission licenses yanked for failing their annual drug test — including one who tested positive for a party-hardy mix of coke and weed.
Nissan is recalling just over 1 million cars, SUVs and vans because the front passenger air bags may not inflate in a crash. It’s the company’s second recall to fix the same problem.
The recall affects the NV200 Taxi van, Altima midsize car, Leaf electric car, Pathfinder SUV and Sentra compact models from the 2013 and 2014 model years, Infiniti JX35 SUV from 2013. Also covered are the Infiniti QX60 and Q50 SUVs from 2014.
In documents filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Nissan says the vehicles’ computer software may not detect an adult in the passenger seat. If that happens, the air bags won’t inflate.
Authorities on Wednesday busted 16 taxi dispatchers from Kennedy and LaGuardia airports who raked in up to $1,000 a day in $10 bribes from hacks who paid to avoid three-hour waits and jump the line of cabs picking up fares, sources said.
The accused scammers were slapped with bribery charges and were expected to be arraigned later Wednesday in Queens Criminal Court, said Queens DA Richard A. Brown, whose office teamed up with the Port Authority to crack the case.
“The defendants are alleged to have accepted bribes in the form of cash payments to rig the airport taxi dispatching system at JFK Airport,” Brown said. “The bribery scam allegedly allowed taxi drivers to basically ‘cut the line’ and get ahead of honest drivers waiting their turn for passengers.”
The unsuspecting dispatchers were arrested after they were told to report to JFK for what they thought was a training session.
“They were summoned for training, and when they turned down a corridor they were placed under arrest,” a source said of the surprised workers, who are employed by a Port Authority contractor called Gateway Group One Frontline Services.
PA Inspector General Robert Van Etten said the 16 gamed a system that was ironically created to ensure fairness.
“These defendants sold out their position of public trust and chose to line their pockets and enrich themselves. The defendants took unfair advantage of a dispatching process that was created to provide a level playing field for all cab drivers,” Van Etten said.
The crooked dispatchers took $10 bribes from hacks who did not want to wait in “taxi hold lots” at the two airports so that they could pick up more passengers and make more money, authorities said.
The dispatchers could make up to $1,000 a day in the scam, the source added.