By Jill Colvin and Tom Liddy
MANHATTAN - Hacks beware.
The city is upping fines for cabbies who refuse fares or overcharge their passengers.
The move by the City Council Wednesday comes on the heels of a massive overcharging scandal that rocked the city in which thousands of people were swindled by drivers charging out-of-town rates.
It also comes a day after driver Wasim Cheema, who allegedly overcharged more than 2,500 passengers, was extradited from the Midwest after going on the lam last year.
The legislation, which passed unanimously, would raise fines for the first offense from $350 to $500.
The maximum fine for a second offense within a two-year period would double from $500 to $1,000.
And anything beyond that within a three-year period would lead to license revocation and include a maximum fine of $1,000 for each offense.
"New Yorkers and visitors from around the world depend on our city's taxi drivers to get around the city," said City Council Speaker Christine Quinn.
"While most of these drivers provide honest, quality service, this bill will make any driver think twice about denying or overcharging passengers."
The fines will apply to hacks who refuse to take passengers to any destination within the five boroughs, overcharge, or ask where passengers are going before they get in the cab.
In March, a civil engineer, Anthony Loreto, was mowed down by a cabbie who refused to to take him and his friends to The Bronx from 53rd Street and Sixth Avenue.
Loreto suffered a fractured skull in the incident.
The vote also comes after a 36 percent increase in drivers refusing fares in the last six months, according to studies by the Taxi and Limousine Commission.