Lost And Not So Found

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If you lose something in a city cab, chances are, [you’re never going to see it again]. That’s according to a new report by Manhattan Councilmember [Gale Brewer](http://www.galebrewer.com/). After losing her keys, BlackBerry and camera in the back seats of various cabs, Brewer began an investigation earlier this summer of the Taxi and Limousine Commission’s procedure for reuniting New Yorkers with their lost belongings. And while there are [those few rare stories of joyful reunion](http://www.ny1.com/ny1/content/index.jsp?stid=1&aid=72599) (it always helps when your forgotten item rings…), Brewer found that the process is generally frustrating, time-consuming and futile.

Brewer’s staffers compiled a report chronicling their search attempts for missing items, citing frequent busy signals, confusing phone mazes, long wait times, and disconnects from the [Taxi and Limousine Commission] hotline. Unlike the MTA, the TLC has no centralized lost and found. That means that you have to wait for drivers or garage managers to return your lost items directly to one of the city’s eight police precincts—which may never happen. Even then, your chances of getting them back are slim. You’ll need your receipt with the cab’s medallion number, (Wait, you forgot that?) and because there’s [no computerized database](http://www.nysun.com/article/60471) for tracking lost items, you’ll have to call each of the city’s precincts individually to search storage rooms. Sounds like a fun afternoon, doesn’t it?

TLC commissioner Matthew Daus has responded by saying that the report is methodologically flawed and that this is the first time in a decade that he's heard complaints concerning the process. However, he said that [the controversial new GPS system] that is scheduled to be operating in all city cabs by early 2008 will make finding lost items a whole lot easier, since dispatchers will be able to pinpoint vehicles using pickup and drop-off points instead of relying on medallion numbers alone. Drivers, meanwhile, are still threatening to strike in protest of the plan.

Photo courtesy of [jaqian on Flickr]

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