Wednesday, August 31, 1966
This episode is from the WNYC archives. It may contain language which is no longer politically or socially appropriate.
Second public hearing held by the Mayor's taxi panel.
Should taxis remain in the hack bureau of the police department or be under some other governing body. This meeting deals specifically with the physical specifications of taxi cabs used in the city.
Commissioner Edward McCabe makes a statement that the Police department's position is that they should not be responsible for the administration and licensing of the taxi industry. It is not a proper matter for police jurisdiction. All four of the police commissioners that McCabe has served under have felt similarly - that this is not proper use of police department time.
The Division of Licenses employs 75 members of the active list and 29 police officers on limited duty and 45 civilians. Three-fifths of the personnel are dedicated to tow cars and taxis (the department is responsible for overseeing several types of licensing).
The Hack Bureau has been overseeing the industry since 1925. It was placed under the police department because of conditions prevalent in the industry, including illegal activities: frauds against the general public and cabs utilized in criminal activities.
McCabe is questioned about his opinions on "group riding." He is totally opposed to it.
He is also asked about the potential for the issuance of additional medallions.
Committee questions McCabe on a variety of topics: the total number of police officers, the "checking out" of voting registrations and liquor license. Discussion of temporary licenses and the time period to make background checks of potential drivers.
WNYC announcer can be heard over the hearing, noting what is happening in the meeting.
A second speaker, Mr. Bergman, comes to the microphone, he is in favor of more medallions being distributed in New York. He is also willing to consider group riding as a consideration to aid in revealing congestion and offering better service.
Bergman is questioned about the administration of rates. He believes it should be similar to a city utility. He also complains that there are fewer cabs on the streets than thirty years ago.
[Levels at open of T2018 are very low, difficult to hear. Transmission then continues to cut in and out .]
Bergerman is questioned about stock cars and checkers cars. Also, they speak about "short stops."
Next Edward C. Babcock speaks on behalf of the Commerce and Industry Association. His association favors the retention of the Hack Bureau in the Police Department.
Next, Mr. Botwinick speaks. He does not understand why the Hack Bureau should move from under the Police Department. He believes that chaos will follow if it is moved. He speaks for fleet owned taxi cabs and a trade association. According to him, no fleet owners or taxi owners want jurisdiction taken from the Hack Bureau.
He reads a prepared statement, quoting some of the old veteran drivers who recall the days of "graft, crackheads, and clotheslines."
Botwinick speaks at great length.
Oscar Katz of the Amalgamated Taxi Association speaks next, expressing his concern for the welfare of the public. He believes that the Hack Bureau's position within the Police Department ensures safety.
Al Lebling (?) speaks, agreeing with McCabe about the elimination of the Hack Bureau.
The fleet operator of Checkered Garage speaks about taxi services in Nassau County.
Discussion of what type of car is best suited for taxi service - large cars with large doors. He discusses "purpose built taxis."
Audio courtesy of the NYC Municipal Archives WNYC Collection
WNYC archives id: 72289
Municipal archives id: T2016