A Big Yellow Taxi, With Fake Brake Pads, Took My Baby Away

Jack Baruth
by Jack Baruth

The thousand injuries of the New York City Taxi & Limousine Commission have been borne as the operators and taxi passengers best could, but when someone ventures to insult the august governmental body, there is always some lackey ready to claim that the TLC protects — protects! — New Yorkers against a variety of imaginary offenses from racism to murder. Anything’s possible. The TLC clearly protects New Yorkers from the Cloverfield monster, because it’s never actually been spotted in the city.

On the other hand, when it comes to protecting New Yorkers from counterfeit, defective taxi parts, the FBI has to get involved.

The FBI used a few dozen agents to capture three men in a raid on Tuesday. The men were involved in a scam where they purchased low-quality generic auto repair parts ranging from brake pads to suspension airbags and rebranded them as OEM or name-brand parts. It’s easy to see how this could endanger taxi passengers, although speeds in New York are generally low enough that even a full Chevy Rolls Deep Brake Package probably wouldn’t kill anyone but pedestrians.

Given that the brake pads in my Town Car have lasted 94,100 miles so far and they still have a little bit to go, it’s easy to see why taxi operators might be annoyed at cheap Chinese brake pads and whatnot. Still, if it took the FBI three years to crack the case, perhaps the counterfeit parts weren’t so bad after all. One would also suppose that it shouldn’t take three years and the full force of federal law enforcement to deal with the issue. Shouldn’t the TLC be actively looking out for this sort of thing? Or are they too busy cashing Nissan’s checks for the Taxi of Tomorrow doing something else?

Hat tip to TTAC reader Curvy McLegalbriefs for this one.

Jack Baruth
Jack Baruth

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  • Bunkie Bunkie on Feb 21, 2013

    Of all the places I've been in the US, NYC has the best taxis (which, unfortunately isn't saying much). A few years back I flew into Columbus to rent a truck and retrieve the stuff from my storage locker (known as the Museum Of My Former Life). I took a taxi from Port Columbus to the U-Haul on Hamilton Road (a five-minute ride) and it cost almost $20. US taxis are pitiful compared to those in Japan and Europe. The cars are almost always clapped-out junkers, dirty, rattling and uncomfortable. NYC cabs are better, but there are still worn-out vehicles. The other night I got in to JFK at midnight and took a cab home to my Upper East Side apartment and the odo on the Crown Vic read almost 250K miles. The TLC may be a messed-up organization, but they are all that stands between us and the chaos that would ensue without them. And speaking as a NYC pedestrian, I appreciate that the TLC is concerned about substandard brake pads.

  • MadHungarian MadHungarian on Feb 22, 2013

    OK, it's not just me. I've got a Town Car with 85K on what I believe to be its OEM brake pads (and given 46K of those miles are mine with no new pads, I'm pretty sure). It seems freakish to me, but maybe that's because I have just had too many GM FWD cars (all of which are pretty good at chewing up front brake pads).

  • FreedMike Well, here's my roster of car purchases since 1981: Three VWsTwo Mazdas (one being a Mercury Tracer, full disclosure)One AudiOne FordOne BuickOne HondaOne Volvo I think I hear Lee Greenwood in the background... In all seriousness, I'd have bought more American cars had they made more of the kinds of cars I like (smaller, performance-oriented).
  • Kwik_Shift_Pro4X I'll gladly support the least "woke" and the most Japanese auto company out there.
  • Jmo2 I just got an email from the dealership where I bought my car and it looks like everything has $5k on the hood.
  • Lou_BC I suspect that since the global pandemic, dealerships have preferred to stay with the "if you want it, we will order it" business model. They just need some demo models on hand and some shiny bits to catch the impulse buyer. Profits are higher and risks lower this way.
  • Probert When I hear the word "patriot", I think of entitled hateful whining ignorant traitors to democracy. But hey , meant to say "Pass the salt."
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