New York Survival Guide Part II: Taxi Cab Conundrums
By Colleen Hagerty
Relaxing in the back seat of one of New York City's iconic cabs, you finally feel like you're getting the hang of life in the Big Apple. Thanking your driver, you step out onto the street, close the door behind you… and realize you left your wallet reclining in the cab as it speeds away. Or-even worse-you watch your beloved iPhone disappearing up the avenue. You contemplate shedding your shoes and chasing after that cab as an intense panic sets in. How will you get in touch with your friends? What if someone takes your credit cards? And, most frightening of all, how do you tell your parents?
First things first: take a deep breath. Unfortunate as it is, you are not the only person to leave behind personal belongings in a cab, so there are systems in place to help you get them back. Once the alarm bells stop sounding in your head, you'll want to contact the extremely kind and helpful staff over at 311. 311 is the NYC hotline for everything from reporting issues with taxis to filing noise complaints and is an amazing resource for New Yorkers. If you have your cell phone or can use a friend's, simply dial in 311 and follow the prompts to directly report your lost objects. If your cell phone was your cab casualty, you can still access 311 through its website, www.nyc.gov/311 , or even call in for free via Skype!
Your best bet at getting back lost items is to know the license plate, medallion number, or name of your cab driver, so try to start paying attention to at least one of those identifiers whenever you take a cab. If you get a receipt after paying, all of this information will be on there! However, even if you do not know them, it's definitely still possible to get your belongings back through 311 by telling them the approximate locations and times you were picked up and dropped off by the taxi. Using this information, they can often identify the cab you took. If nothing else, 311 can direct you to the potential "lost and found" your driver would have dropped your belongings off at. It's important to note that 311 will only be able to help you if you left your items in a yellow taxi, as any of the other cars that may stop for you (such as black town cars or even car services) are not authorized through the city.
Miss Part I of the Survival Guide? Check it out here, and be sure to check back next week for Part Three!