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Cabbies get hacked off at Ikea!

The Brooklyn Paper
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A city crackdown on livery cab drivers who cruised for furniture-lugging passengers at the remote Ikea in Red Hook has led the Swedish home-furnishings behemoth to create a livery dispatch station for shoppers.

The gigantic Beard Street emporium was a fertile hunting grounds for fares until police and the Taxi and Limousine Commission swept through the area last month, issuing summonses for illicit pickups and even confiscating vehicles from unregistered drivers.

Commissioner Matthew Daus said the agency was merely “responding to some complaints about illegal activity at Ikea.”

The efforts have not completely curbed black-market cabbies though. Just last Wednesday, an argument between rival chauffeurs erupted into violence with one hack hitting the other with a baseball bat. Police arrested the slugger.

With the exception of the beating, a spokesman for Ikea said the store was unaware of rogue car services circling their one-year-old megastore.

But the dispatcher from Cobble Hill Car Service, the officially recognized fleet at the Red Hook Ikea, said the store wanted to ward off the freelancing cabbies.

“Before, it was mixed up,” said Naser Bawy, whose company has been chauffeuring Ikea customers for more than a month. “Cars would come with private license plates and charge varying rates. Now the dispatcher is responsible and everyone gets the same rates.”

Shoppers are supposed to go to a booth to make arrangements for a ride in one of the waiting cars at fixed rates, but a Brooklyn Paper reporter observed one woman successfully haggle a $15 ride to Carroll Gardens down to $10 by threatening to call another company.

City law allows only yellow cabs to pick up passengers. To legally hop into a registered livery cab, passengers must first call the company to request a car.

Still, unlawful cab service is widespread in the outer boroughs. And entrepreneurial livery drivers cruising for business at Ikea is an inevitable development of the store’s distant location in a mass-transit starved neighborhood.

But for now, the store’s security detail keeps its vigilant eyes peeled for illicit pickups.

“If anyone comes by to pick up customers illegally, security removes them,” Bawy told The Brooklyn Paper.

— with Jacob Kleinman

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Reader Feedback

Joe from Red Hook says:
Why does this paper refer to LIVERY drivers as "cabbies?" They are NOT cabbies unless they are driving a TAXI. Calling an unlicensed and uninsured gypsy driver a "freelancing cabby"is an insult to both licensed livery drivers and to real cabbies who drive taxis.
June 11, 2009, 3:19 pm
Joey Bot from Botswana says:
why was i blessed with this musical talent?
June 11, 2009, 4:15 pm
sid from Boerum Hill says:
City rules prohibit anyone but a yellow cab responding to a street hail(a un prearranged cab fare on a street or at the airport or any place else within NYC). But you can call a car service even one second before. At the Red Hook Cruise terminal the city allows for non-prearranged car services to pick people up. What IKEA was sign an exclusive for Cobble hill to be used with the person calling first. You can still have another car service meet you if you call them,
June 11, 2009, 4:45 pm
Any Mouse from Any Where says:
Cobble Hill Car Service uses unlicensed drivers all the time. The dispatcher's "friends" hang out with him at the base, then he throws them trips when poor unsuspecting folks walk in.

They also charge varying rates. Prices go up a dollar or two whenever it rains.

They're probably one of the most expensive car services in Brooklyn. Too bad IKEA is promoting them.
June 11, 2009, 6:50 pm
Richie C from Carroll Gardens says:
10 dollars from Red Hook to Carrool Gardens !!
That is less then a mile even if they went clear to the end of Carrol Gardens and if it was a bit longer then a mile it would not be all that much longer and surely less then 2 miles !!
What a rip off and to think they were actually trying to get 15 dollars !!
Ok prices of gas and insurance have gone up since the same trip would have cost 4 dollars years ago BUT they haven't gone up all that much to justify ripping people off like they seem to be doing !!
Hey why should these guys even think of making an airport run when they can get so much for making such a short easy trip to Carroll Gardens ?
I used to drive car service years ago with the Old Park Lane Car Service and I know a bit about what I am talking about here. I also dispatched for Cadmen Car Service in the Heights.
June 13, 2009, 11:57 am
F grade for Cobble Hill from midwood says:
Everyone be aware of cobble hill car service. They are using other bases names! They were confronted by the TLC detectives, and issued summonses for this! There is a record of this! So to all passengers be careful with them! Based on your ethnic background they will use a name that relates to your ethnicity!
Sept. 2, 2010, 7:58 am
lotfy says:
the guy who own the car service named cobell hill car service gave us i fake lisence to work at ikea in we dint know that ................
Sept. 18, 2012, 3:56 pm

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