MIDTOWN — Doormen at some of Midtown's high-end hotels are demanding $15 kickbacks from cab drivers to hook them up with fares, and blacklisting those who don't pay up, the New York Post reported.
The scheme has sparked a Taxi and Limousine Commission investigation, the paper said.
"This stuff goes on day in and day out at hotels all over Midtown," Committee for Taxi Safety director David Pollack told the Post. "It’s never happened as much as it is now. Everyone’s hurting for money and no one is stopping it."
Some doormen will ask ask cabbies for a tip before guiding guests to their car. If they don’t receive one they’ll skip to the next car in line.
"After they collect the tip from the guests, they wrap around the car and get a tip from the driver," cabby Mohammed Shiraz, 31, told the Post outside the Milford Plaza Hotel on Tuesday. "It’s just wrong."
The Post described how hand signals are used in the scheme at the Milford Plaza. One finger means LaGuardia, two for JFK and three for Newark. The cabbie pays up and the doorman guides the guest to their taxi, the Post said.
Officials told the Post that the practice is not a crime, and that it doesn't violate TLC police, either.
"We hear many complaints from the taxi industry about this problem, and we are very sensitive to them," TLC Commissioner David Yassky told the paper.