By Christina Hager, WBZ-TVBy Christina Hager

EAST BOSTON (CBS) – An East Boston man says a taxi driver took him on a wild ride because he refused to hand over extra money for tolls. “He wouldn’t let me out of the car, so that’s when it got a little scary,” says Matt Karolian.

He took the cab from downtown Boston early Monday morning. When the taxi pulled up to his East Boston apartment building, the driver asked him to pay for a toll, even though they had not gone through one.

“I offered to pay the fare in full, as it read on the meter, and he refused that and said I had to pay the $5.25 toll that he was going to experience going back into the city,” says Karolian.

WBZ-TV’s Christina Hager reports

In fact, Boston Hackney regulations read, “The passenger pays no toll from Boston to East Boston.” Apparently, the cab driver didn’t believe that. “He booked out of the apartment, with me in the car, was going in excess of the speed limit, started running through stop signs. I was trying to open the door. When I did that, he’d kind of swerve a little bit to close the door.”

The taxi driver took him to the East Boston Police Department, where an officer had to explain to him that Karolian was right.

Even though Karolian had to walk four blocks home, he says it was worth it. “ I think more people are learning now that they don’t have to pay the toll, and hopefully this sparks a conversation about how we get people to and from the city in a safe and easy way,” he says.

There is one spot in East Boston where taxis can pass on some of the toll money to passengers. If you go to Logan Airport, expect to pay $2.75 for the toll.

Christina Hager

Comments (20)
  1. p2boston says:

    Some taxi drivers really suck. That is why I avoid taxis.

  2. buddy says:

    Many are really nice. I take one Mon-Fri and have to say Boston Cab drivers do a fine job. Mind you not everyone is nice cause we all know there’s always one and in the 5 years I’ve been doig this it’s only happpened once.

    Mean people ….well you know sxxx

  3. sean says:

    I think the cabbie should be charged with kidnapping

  4. eddwal50 says:

    yes there is no toll to enter east boston only on when entering the tunnel so cabbie was wrong so why does the story say there is a 2.75 fare to go to logan please explain

  5. Lou Lange says:

    That taxi driver should have been arrested when they got to the police station. The person who hired the cab was held against his will – sounds like kidnapping or something similar to me. I hope the cabbie is FIRED and his taxi license let alone his driver’s license is REVOKED.

    1. Italo says:

      I believe in giving someone another chance, not in today’s society mantra that if you make a mistake, you are branded and punished permanently. Maybe write up the taxi guy, but give him another chance so that he doesn’t have to automatically get fired and lose his job. What happened was wrong, but what can happen is to address the driver on the issue and then, next time, it would be shame on him.

  6. blazin says:

    you people suck and the Hackney Unit too,most people who go from downtown to east Boston the fare would be around $8 if the driver is to be the 5.25 then he is left with 2.75 and that’s huge loss and you tell what business man will accept to operate at a huge loss. The state shouldn’t charge Boston cab driver the toll or Mayor Menino has to change his mind and let the cab driver charge the toll. I think it taking advantage of poor cab divers who are mostly immigrants and have nobody to defend them or advocate from them.

  7. bosmonkey says:

    It doesn’t seem fair to the cab drivers. Too bad they can’t make it so that marked cabs could go into a non-EZ Pass lane, and be allowed through without paying if there’s no one in the cab. I don’t know how else they can do it.

    The flip argument is; that’s the cost of doign business. :/

    I do not agree though with th ecabbie putting the passenger’s life in danger and think he shouldn’t be charged with something.

  8. RMAR says:

    This isn’t an isolated incident. I live in Eastie and have gotten into several arguments with cabbies downtown over this issue. Even when I offer to add the toll to the tip I’ve still been refused rides. One cabbie even tried to forcibly remove me from a car I was already in. I’ve had them lock me in and try to double charge me on credit card fares. I have huge issues with the way downtown cab companies. Needless to say I have Hackney Hotline on speed dial. Best bet is to buddy up with drivers from Eastie based companies like Tunnel Taxi. They aren’t always available but if they are they have no problem getting you.

  9. KB says:

    I dont have any sympathy for cab drivers cause most of them dont know how to drive but its crazy to charge 2.75 for a fare and pay out of pocket 5.25 for tolls??? How do they expect them to survive? The customer should have to pay for tolls.

    1. hello says:

      the cabbies suck, people in to pay the toll and then cut through Chelsea to get back to Boston, pocketing the money. Drive the produce road in Chelsea in the morning and see how many cabs are on the road. They should charge nothing…nada

    2. Old Poor Richard says:

      Nobody makes him take the tollway back. This cabbie was driving to endanger and kidnapping. He should go to prison.

  10. stu says:

    And the taxi driver was not arrested for unlawful imprisonment, speeding, driving to endanger, anything at all? Oh yeah, I for got this is Massachusetts…

  11. PJS says:

    wasa the cabbie from another country, if so there lies the problem, all cabbies should go through a “customer serice” course, they should also be told what they can & cann’ot do!! and i agree –he should be charged with unlawful imprisonment, etc. what would have happened if someone was crossing the street at the time of his rampage??

  12. similar situation says:

    This same occurance happened to me as I was on the way to the hospital to see my mother who had been admitted into the emergency room. Upon arrival to the hospital, the cab driver refused to issue me a receipt for the fare which is against the hackney law as well. I asked for his receipt then which he proceeded to rip up and throw out the window. Upon refusing to leave until I had a receipt, written or otherwise, he proceeded to take off the same way, swerving and going in excess of the speed limit dropping me off at the Brookline Police department. Fortunately for me, the police were nice enough to give me a ride back to the hospital, but all the driver got was a slap on the wrist and myself being told it was a ‘misunderstanding’. So FYI, try to avoid taking Red Cab #6 because I’m sure the driver is still at work, probably the same one.

  13. A says:

    People are such people, really…

  14. Rita O'Brien says:

    If this cabbie is charging the $5.25 for tolls then there are other drivers out there doing the same thing. They are making money because they don’t go back to Boston through the tunnel, they cut through Chelsea’s produce market road to avoid the toll and pocket the money. the Mayor should pass a law where the cab company’s have a sticker on the cab stating NO Toll Fee from Boston to East Boston.

    1. Old Poor Richard says:

      Should be added to the Boston Police notice which is posted in every car. And what is it with cops letting cabbies kidnap people over a fare? We need to send these grubs to prison. I will never, ever use a cab, I always call a sedan.

  15. your average cab driver says:

    you guys have no idea how rough it is to survive as a cab driver in boston.if it was an easy job,foreginers wouldn’t be driving them but yeppies offcourse .cab drivers usually work a shift and pay the cab compnies about $ 125 for a 12 hr shift or $ 950 a week and whatever they make is for them to keep.and its not always easy to make money let alone cover the bottom line.As drivers to barley get by, we have to be able to manage our time by tackleing traffic ,the cops ,metter maids,hackney office,college kids who would rather run off than pay and those who think cabbies are running them up on the meter and offcourse drunks .and afer whatever we make uncle sam wants a cut and we pay a premimum for health insurance because we are on our own !! As to the topic.its true we dont like it when we pick up customers to east boston because after payiing the toll to get back down town we would only end up with 5 dollars for a 10 dollar job from to those who say we pocket the money going through chelese you dont know what you talking about.we actually lose money going back around that way with no customer on board.and those cabies who do it that way had either a good fare to logan and wanna get back downtown and only do it when there is less trafic through chelese and from route 99 to downtown..All in all,we appreciate 93% of our boston area customers and their gratitude in tips and such.p.s we would appreciate it if brookline cops could be less critical of our drivig.

    1. Dave_D says:

      After letting someone off in Eastie, don’t most Boston cabs just go to the airport pick up a fare and go back into Boston?

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