Rochester television station WHEC News10NBC released two videos on Wednesday, April 22 that showed Marketplace Taxi employees referring to UR students using expletives and racial slurs. The employees were recorded using derogatory language upon ending calls with students. The videos were recorded by former Marketplace Taxi driver Christine Van Orden.
Marketplace Taxi is promoted by UR, but there is no formal contract. In a statement made by UR President Joel Seligman on Wednesday that was published by News10NBC and also released in a UR newsletter on Thursday, April 23, Seligman noted that Marketplace Taxi is promoted by UR “as a service to our community, especially students” because it “offers discounted flat fares to students, faculty and staff.”
“We saw the video for the first time [Wednesday] afternoon,” Seligman added. “We are appalled […] The language was vulgar, abusive and racist, utterly incompatible with our core values.”
Seligman concluded by saying that “while we investigate further, we are removing references to the service from our website.”
As of early Thursday morning, many of the references had been removed from UR websites.
Due to the time of publication of News10NBC’s story and Campus Times’ print deadline, University officials and Marketplace Taxi were unable to be reached for comment.
At an SA Senate meeting on February 16, 2015, Director of Parking and Transportation Services Hugh Kierig said that “[UR’s relationship with Marketplace Taxi] has been in effect, I think, at least three years.”
“The bargaining chip is not giving them the exclusive rights to be the sole discounted taxi provider for [UR] students,” Kierig said. “We don’t get any money from them. We just have a gentle-person’s agreement that they’re going to provide a discount […] we have enough frustration in terms of their performance that we have started looking at other companies.”
Marketplace Taxi’s future relationship with UR is unclear.
At the February Senate meeting, Kierig mentioned that UR was looking at “two companies” to “either compete with Marketplace in terms of services that [UR] students and employees get, or shutting Marketplace out and going with another cab company.”
In an interview conducted by News10NBC reporter Berkeley Brean, Marketplace Taxi attorney Jim Doyle said that “the two individuals in question are suspended immediately for a minimum of 30 days.”
Ransom is a member of the class of 2017.
Schaffer is a member of the class of 2016.