Personal Finance

Drive & Dash: The $1,000 Cab Ride Debacle

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New York and Boston aren’t really that close. For example, most people aren’t going to hail a cab at JFK and tell the driver to take them on a four-hour drive that covers three states and about 200 miles. Because that’s going to cost nearly $1,000.

Despite these seemingly obvious reasons to take, say, a train (or a bus), a Framingham, Mass., woman hopped in a cab at the airport and asked to be taken home. Once she got there, she didn’t have the cash to pay and said her credit card wouldn’t cover it, so the cab driver dropped her off at a police station, where she was arrested for larceny over $250, according to a local news story.

She can pay the $980 fare within 60 days and the charges will be dropped. Regardless, that’s a lot of hassle (not to mention money) to get from point A to point B, but people have a track record of making poor financial decisions in the name of convenience. (For reference, Amtrak’s website puts a New York to Boston train at $73–$165, and has bus fares for $20.)

When you think about it, it’s pretty common for people to pay way more for something than they should. For instance, if you regularly use non-bank ATMs, you’ll rack up a ton of fees. At maybe $3 a pop, it doesn’t seem like much, but it adds up, especially when you consider there are machines you could use for free. Overdraft fees are cash-killers, too.

Then there’s using credit cards to buy things you can’t afford and paying interest on the balances you carry. And let’s not forget about student loans. A lot of recent college graduates have become all-too familiar with cost of funding an education on borrowed money — student loans can be a great tool, but spending more on your education than you can reasonably expect to earn is a recipe for financial disaster.

These are no $1,000 cab ride, but you get the idea: A little thought and planning can save you a lot of money, and it can also keep you from needlessly wrecking your credit. Perhaps next time she travels, this woman will realize it’s more convenient to fly into Logan.

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Image: Jupiterimages

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