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Cabbie Stripped of License After Harassing Female Passenger

By Nicole Bode | December 26, 2013 2:27pm
 A New York City yellow cab.
A New York City yellow cab.
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Flickr/An aSkEw perspective - J@T

NEW YORK — A cabdriver who harassed a female passenger he drove home from LaGuardia Airport in March had his license yanked less than a year after hitting the streets, the city's Taxi and Limousine Commission said.

Cabbie Mirza Baig, who got his hack license in late January, picked up the woman at LaGuardia just before 1 p.m. on March 17 and drove her to her home in Brooklyn, according to court documents. During the ride, he began quizzing the woman about her dating life, making her uncomfortable with the level of "lewd" questions, according to the documents.

During the half-hour ride, Baig grilled his passenger about whether she had a boyfriend and "who she would be sleeping with that night" before inviting her to "get together," the TLC found in its investigation, which was first reported by the New York Post.

The woman got out at her home, took her luggage out of the trunk, and paid the $37 fare, plus tip, to avoid angering Baig, she told investigators.

But when he yelled out the window at her, "are you sure you don't want to, you know, come back with me?" the passenger gave him the middle finger, she told investigators.

She fumbled for the keys to her apartment and bent over to pick up one of her bags, prompting Baig to shout, "you have a real nice a--, baby," before driving away, she told investigators.

The woman complained to 311 and sent an email to the TLC, sparking a disciplinary hearing, court documents show.

"Disrespectful, and a bit creepy," the woman wrote the agency. "Did not like the idea of that guy knowing where I live."

Administrative Law Judge Tynia Richard of the Office of Administrative Trials & Hearings wrote in her Oct. 31 decision that Baig never bothered to attend the disciplinary hearing, instead submitting a letter claiming that his passenger gave him bad directions to her home, causing him to get lost. He claimed that the passenger "started cursing at me and I gave her the same compliments back as I was insulted she was calling me all kinds of names."

Richard wrote in her decision, "questions about whether the passenger had a boyfriend, whether she was going to her boyfriend's house, and who she would be sleeping with were unprofessional and clearly inappropriate."

"Under the circumstances, I find the only appropriate penalty is revocation of respondent's hack license," Richard added.

TLC spokesman Allan Fromberg said in a statement that “it is unacceptable for a driver to cross the line of propriety with a passenger, and in the rare occasions when it happens, we are grateful to be alerted to it so we can take the appropriate actions, as we did in this instance.”