Congressman To Cabbie: I Know My Rights!

Congressman skips out on fare after cabbie stops the meter

By Andrea Berry
|  Thursday, Jul 15, 2010  |  Updated 10:25 AM EDT
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Congressman To Cabbie: I Know My Rights!

A congressman skipped out on his cab fare because the driver broke the rules.

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A New York Congressman skipped out on his cab fare, but it looks like he was in the right.

It all started Tuesday when Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) hailed a cab at Union Station, according to The Hill. Nadler wanted a ride to his hotel. He wanted to check in, drop off his luggage, and then head to his office on Capitol Hill. But that's when the trouble started.

"When we arrived at the first stop, I advised the driver ... that I would be out of the cab for 30 seconds or so, and requested that he leave the meter running, in accordance with D.C. taxi regulations," Nadler told The Hill. "[The driver] then ignored DC taxi regulations and refused to take me to my final destination without restarting the meter."

But the driver, Abraham Habteab, had other ideas.

"I stop the meter, you pay," he said he told Nadler.

Right? Wrong. Turns out the Congressman knows his taxicab regulations. In fact, he even carries a letter around from Taxi Commission Chairman Leon Swain that proves his point.

Nadler says he tried to show off his letter, but Habteab wanted none of it. So Nadler hopped out and found another cab. He didn't pay for the ride to his hotel.

"Mr. Habteab would not obey the law and take me to my final destination," he told The Hill, "so I was obligated to find another driver who would. Of course taxi drivers have rights, but so do passengers."

Nadler did, however, add that he's "working with the Taxicab Commission and Mr. Habteab to ensure that he receives the correct payment, despite his misinterpretation of the law." 

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