Tip your drivers for not breaking the law.
That’s what advocates for both passengers and drivers promoted Thursday morning in front of the Grand Central taxi stand.
Volunteers handed out fliers and buttons to passerby and folks lining up for a cab, asking each individual to consider tipping 25 percent of the fare to drivers who observe 25 m.p.h. speed limit.
Supporters dismissed the idea that it may be shrewd for passengers to ante up a bigger tip for drivers who keep to the speed limit.
"Most taxi drivers do obey the law everyday. What we're saying is thank you," said Michael O'Loughlin of Cab Riders United.
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"Over the years good service has been about taxis getting people around quickly," said Taxi and Limousine Commission chief Meera Joshi. "A 25 percent tip is a good, concrete way for passengers and drivers to remember the new definition of good service."
By incentivizing safer driving, Joshi said cabs and livery drivers can better join in on the city’s Vision Zero efforts to reduce and eliminate pedestrian and traffic-related deaths across the city.
Mayor Bill de Blasio announced his administration’s Vision Zero goals weeks into his first year in office. Last month, the mayor announced an all-time low of 134 pedestrian and 59 motor vehicle deaths.
The city’s adoption of a 25 m.p.h. speed limit, which came into effect in November, was central to Vision Zero programming.
But cabbies have been at the wrong end of traffic safety multiple times since the city launched the Vision Zero initiative.
Within a slate of Vision Zero bills passed by the City Council last year was a bill named after Cooper Stock, a 9-year-old boy killed in January 2014 when a taxi car plowed into him and his father in the Upper West Side.
Cooper’s Law allows the city to suspend and revoke licenses of any TLC-sanctioned driver who kills or maims a pedestrian, but critics argued the city should be more proactive with taxi and livery drivers.
Joshi said the TLC recently expanded training for all 125,000 or so licenced drivers, including about 70,000 for-hire vehicle drives — including green outerborough taxis — who never before were required to take classes.
Vice President of Green Taxi New York Nancy Soria said that as the city continues to roll out new initiatives as a part of Vision Zero, tipping for safety makes sense.
Soria said driving safe and being pleasant even earned her a 200 percent tip on a $12 fare for a trip between Harlem and Morningside Heights.
“People tip for good driving,” she said. “And there are some good tippers in New York.”
Across town, one cab driver standing in front of the Port Authority taxi stand told Metro he's seen his peers and other drivers keep to the new speed limit.
Although he said he'd been driving a yellow cab for less than a year, he said he still gets the occasional passenger more worried about speed than safety.
"They tell me to go faster," he said. "I tell them that I can't."