Dalbir Singh did not know where to go on Wednesday when he arrived at the corner of East 72nd Street and Third Avenue, seeking one of the Taxi and Limousine Commission’s new share-a-cab stands.
“I asked the T.L.C. officer, ‘Where is the taxi stand here?’ ” Mr. Singh said later, crossing Central Park in a yellow cab. “He said, ‘I don’t know, I’m looking for it too.’ ”
Grand social experiments are not easy to pull off. So when the commission decided to test whether New Yorkers — a fairly cranky bunch — would be willing to share a taxi ride, a hitch or two was to be expected.
The program allows up to four passengers to share cabs, car pool style, from designated stands along three set routes in Manhattan, for $4 each.
But the problem on this cold, wet Wednesday morning, the first day of the experiment, was that virtually no riders showed up. The stands, marked by small yellow signs, were without cabbies and passengers alike. According to the authorities, only six shared trips took place.
Gloria Park, from the Upper East Side, rode in one of them. “People are hesitant, and don’t want to share,” Ms. Park said as her taxi zipped down Lexington Avenue. (She had arrived at the Third Avenue stand seeking a ride; a reporter offered to join her.)
New York, she said, is not like Seoul, where her family lives and where sharing cabs is common. Still, she added, “some people may take them just to meet other people.”
Some said the rides might yet catch on, given time and word of mouth. Matthew W. Daus, the taxi commissioner, said he expected interest to grow.
“Some people are into it, and some people are not into it, and that’s fine,” Mr. Daus said. “This is New York.”