Some pro-Trump cabbies are driving New Yorkers crazy.
At least four taxi drivers have each been fined hundreds of dollars by the city for praising President Trump — and, in some cases, making offensive comments to passengers, the Daily News has learned.
One political hack was hit with a $1,100 penalty and given three points on his license after a passenger complained that he went on a racist tirade during a Nov. 30 ride to Kennedy Airport, ranting that “the traffic is the fault of f—–g Africans and Muslims and that Trump is great for this country.”
The driver, Mark Maehle, told The News that what he said wasn’t illegal and griped that the city’s Taxi and Limousine Commission fined him because of their liberal agenda.
“They’re punishing me for voting for Trump,” Maehle, 57, said.
Another cabbie, Anthony Porat, was fined $200 when passengers got into his taxi a few days after the presidential election and he immediately chanted, “Hurray for Donald Trump! I love this man! F— you, liberals!”
The TLC charged Maehle with harassment and Porat for being discourteous after the passengers made 311 complaints about them.
Between August 2016 and January, the city’s 311 system received nine complaints about drivers who invoked Trump while running their mouths during rides, according to records obtained by The News.
However, only four complaints led to charges and fines. The other five complaints were closed because passengers either didn’t respond to TLC investigators’ phone calls or refused to cooperate once the probe was launched.
One passenger declined to assist the TLC even though she had what she described as the “worst ride ever.”
“This man would not stop preaching loudly about his love for Trump,” the rider wrote in a complaint submitted on Jan. 23. “I should’ve been paid to ride with him!”
If the passenger cooperates and the TLC determines the complaint has merit, then the agency issues a summons to the driver. A hearing officer from the city’s Office of Trials and Administrative Hearings then adjudicates the case.
Drivers are either found guilty or innocent — or they can settle the case.
Maehle, who lives in Rockaway Park, Queens, and has been a cabbie for seven years, said he settled his case — agreeing to the $1,110 fine and the points because he feared a stiffer penalty if he fought the charge.
Nonetheless, he could still be out of a job.
Three weeks ago, the TLC slapped him with another summons for making more derogatory comments about Muslims during a different cab ride, he said.
Maehle said this time the TLC suspended his hack license until his hearing in May.
Again, he said, he’s the victim of a liberal city.
“Is that grounds for me losing my job because I’m a conservative?” he asked. “I know this is New York and they don’t play by the same rules as the United States of America.”
TLC spokeswoman Rebecca Harshbarger said agency rules prohibit drivers from threatening, harassing, abusing or being discourteous to any person.
“Some passengers and drivers may enjoy discussing politics or current events and sharing perspectives, but drivers must always follow TLC rules while providing service,” she said. “Passengers have the right to a safe and courteous driver, as well as a quiet ride.”
To Maehle, the TLC’s rules are as phony as the fake news Trump often decries. He said he’s a proud American who has a right to speak his mind.
“I’m born and raised in this country for many generations going back through the Civil War, and we’ve been paying taxes,” he said.
Maehle added that the government has stacked the deck against him.
“They don’t like people like me,” he said. “If I was a liberal or an immigrant, they would put me in a big apartment and give me this and that.”
Porat, a Russian immigrant who has been driving yellow cabs for more than 25 years, also griped that the city had a bias against him.
“This city is pro-Hillary, pro-Democrat,” said Porat, 69. “I respect them to a point but I have a point too.”
He said he also paid the fine so he could keep driving a taxi.
He said that during the cab ride that got him in trouble, he made a simple pro-Trump comment about him winning the White House and said Hillary Clinton was going to jail. Porat said a female passenger didn’t like that.
“When she got out, she showed me the middle finger,” he said. “So I said, ‘F— liberals.’ Nothing personal to her.”
The passenger who complained about Porat had a much different version of events.
She said in her 311 complaint that Porat refused to stop his Trump chants during the ride.
“I have lived here since 1989 and have had almost exclusively positive experiences with NYC Yellow Cab drivers,” she wrote. “So this was — and hopefully is — an anomaly.”
Not all the 311 complaints were pro-Trump tirades.
One complaint that didn’t lead to a summons was about a driver calling passengers ignorant and accusing them of voting for Trump. But a few of the complaints were about drivers invoking Trump while bashing immigrants.
A for-hire livery driver, Ramon Reyes, settled the charges against him — agreeing to pay a $250 fine after being rude to a mother of twins during a ride in the Bronx a day after the election.
Reyes said he was glad Trump won so the new commander-in- chief would send the mom back to her country, according to the complaint.
In another complaint, a passenger said he and his wife would steer clear of yellow taxi drivers after their Jan. 22 ride on the Upper East Side.
The passenger said cabbie Shamsul Chowdhury refused to let them pay with a credit card, then “proceeded to lecture and harass us for (the) entire ride about how we were ruining the economy.” They claim the driver told them to take an Uber next time.
Chowdhury, who could not be reached for comment, also said “Trump would fix the problem people like us cause,” according to the complaint.
An administrative judge later found Chowdhury guilty of being discourteous and slapped him with a $300 fine.
“Maybe he is right, based on this experience, I’m more likely to use Uber next time!” the passenger said.