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Taxi And Limousine Commission

Transportation Nation

Taxi Safety Could Include Black Boxes and Letter Grades

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The city's newly appointed Taxi and Limousine Commissioner says poor driving habits need to be unlearned—and the city is getting ready to school bad drivers.

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Transportation Nation

Fund for Disabled Taxi Drivers Hits Legal Setback

Monday, April 14, 2014

A fund for sick and injured taxi workers has an uncertain future after a judge’s ruling Friday. 

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Transportation Nation

City's New Taxi Chief Gets the Official Nod

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Meera Joshi says she'll bring "inclusion, consensus and common sense" to the NYC Taxi and Limousine Commission. 

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Transportation Nation

De Blasio's Pick for Taxi Chair Makes Her Case to City Council

Thursday, April 03, 2014

The woman nominated by Mayor de Blasio to run the city's Taxi and Limousine Commission says if she's confirmed, one of her top priorities will be to set a "new bar for driver and vehicle safety."

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New Tech City

Hailing a Cab With Your Smartphone

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

New York City's Taxi and Limousine Commission is starting a one-year pilot program February 15 that will bring the technology to Manhattan for the first time.

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New Tech City

Technology vs. Business As Usual in NYC

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Hailing cabs with an app.  Renting out rooms to visiting tourists.  Sure, it's easy, thanks to startups like Uber and Airbnb.  But is it legal? Popular tech companies run up against New York City regulations and try to find compromises.

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WNYC News

Medallion Sale Revenue in Upcoming Budget May Turn into Fiscal Unicorn

Monday, June 18, 2012

WNYC

As the city’s budget deadline looms, questions remain about whether a billion dollars in revenue from the auction of 2,000 yellow medallions — now held up in court — was a wise projection by the Bloomberg administration.

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Transportation Nation

New York's Ambitious Taxi Plans Calls for More $$

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

One of the approximately 200 wheelchair accessible cabs in the city. (photo by Kate Hinds/WNYC)

(New York, NY -- Kathleen Horan, WNYC)  Sometime in the fall, many more New York cabs will be wheelchair accessible, and it will be much easier to hail a cab in northern Manhattan, and in the other four boroughs.  New York City will also start collecting on what it hopes will be $1 billion in revenue from the new medallions sold.

But multiple layers and flaming hoops lie ahead.

There's the $20 million the Taxi and Limousine Commission will need to pay for grants to make cars wheelchair accessible -- a full third of its $60 million budget.

At the City Council Transportation Committee budget hearings on Tuesday, Commissioner David Yassky testified that it’s still unclear whether the grants will be distributed up front or if they’d be spaced out.

Yassky added “There’s a big difference between a $1000 dollar grant on day one and then $14,000 a few years from now-- versus $15,000 up front.”

The Bloomberg administration’s 5 Borough Taxi Plan calls for the sale of 18,000 HAIL licenses or permits over the next 3 years. 20% are required to be accessible. The first 6000 are scheduled to be sold this June.

Yassky said that the HAIL licenses will be sold on a first come, first serve basis.

But only licensed for-hire vehicle operators in good standing will be able to purchase them.

The Commissioner is standing by the Mayor’s and his agency’s estimate that the yellow medallion auction, also scheduled in the upcoming budget, would bring in a billion dollars in city revenue. At the hearing, some council members expressed concerns if that was realistic.

But the city has its work cut out for it. The TLC has to re-write existing rules, and go through the required public comment period before putting the HAIL permits up for sale. After that, it's legally permitted by the state to start selling medallions. Even then, only 400 can be auctioned. After the initial sale, the city must submit its long term accessibility plan to the State Department of Transportation for approval before moving forward with the rest of the auction.

Then there’s the pending federal lawsuit.  A judge ruled in December that the TLC must assure that its providing meaningful access to wheelchair bound New Yorkers. The city is appealing that decision but Yassky conceded that sometimes it's prudent to spend more money than policy dictates.

“If down the line you see us spending money and you say its not worth that level of expenditure—I would say to you that we also have the courts to worry about.”

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Transportation Nation

NY Taxi Receipts May Get Advertisements

Thursday, January 19, 2012

(New York, NY -- Kathleen Horan, WNYC) Another icon of the yellow cab is swaying:  those slow-to-emerge, rice-paper thin receipts.

The small, somewhat understated receipts taxi passengers may be becoming a thing of the past as the New York Taxi and Limousine votes  to allow advertisements on the back of the receipts.  Those ads could be for almost anything  -- from gyms to strip clubs to banks.

. “Apparently they will get bigger to accommodate the ads. Our rules won’t require the receipts to be any bigger but that’s what the industry will move toward,” TLC Commissioner David Yassky said.

Yassky said any ad revenue the industry makes could potentially keep prices down for customers.

“The credit card vendors would get the advertising revenue. The theory is that it holds down the fees they charge to taxi owners and holds down fare pressure,” Yassky explained.

But the drivers group Taxi Workers Alliance opposes having ads on the back of taxi receipts, since cabbies won’t share in the revenue. The group's Executive Director Bhairavi Desai said drivers haven't received a fare increase since 2004, yet they pay at least five percent for every credit card transaction.

“Hard working drivers shouldn’t have to provide charity to 5th Avenue advertisers, taxi technology vendors or taxi garages. It’s the driver’s labor, customer service, gas money and lease, so they should have the ad money,” Desai said.

One of the two technology vendors who work with the city to provide credit card readers in cabs, VeriFone, outfits about 6, 600 of the city’s 13,237 yellow cabs. According to TLC officials, that company is most eager to put ads on the back of receipts. It might be ideal for them, since they also provide taxi meters that will print the longer receipts. They’ll have the ability to make any required tweaks the machines require.

VeriFone did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the issue.

The TLC and other industry officials have yet to release an estimate about how much revenue the possible ads could provide to the vendors.

UPDATE: The vote was tabled until next month while the TLC gets information from VeriFone on total advertising revenue.

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Transportation Nation

Wheelchair Accessible Taxis Go Before NY Judge

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

One of the approximately 200 wheelchair accessible cabs in the city. (photo by Kate Hinds/WNYC)

(New York, NY -- Kathleen Horan, WNYC) Attorneys for the disabled faced off against attorneys for the city in a court hearing on Tuesday over the lack of wheelchair-accessible cabs.

Attorneys for the plaintiffs, as well as the Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Southern District, argued that New York City is in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act, saying it runs a public transportation system -- yet only two percent of cabs in the city can accommodate people in wheelchairs.

Simi Linton of Manhattan was one of a dozen disabled New Yorkers attending the hearing. "I feel optimistic that the judge understood the depth and the reach of the kind of discrimination that disabled people face daily," she said.

The city contends it's not violating the law because it doesn't operate the cabs themselves, drivers do.

But Federal Judge George Daniels repeatedly challenged the city’s attorney, Robin Binder, about whether New York City is responsible to do more, and what it plans to do to provide “meaningful access” to disabled passengers. Daniels said: “If it is your legal obligation, there is no dispute you’re not meeting that obligation.”

The Taxi and Limousine Commission has said it’s currently developing a system where disabled riders can order a wheelchair- accessible cab from a dispatcher. It should be operational by next spring.

One of the plaintiffs, Christopher Noel, said that plan doesn't cut it. "The TLC is basically saying that we'll come up with a system eventually, and then we'll get to you, but for now we'll just pick up everyone else and then we'll get to everyone else," he said. "It hurt me when I heard their argument," he said.

Judge Daniels said he’ll rule on the case by Christmas.

Before he concluded the hearing, Daniels warned the city that if he determines the city has an obligation to do more for accessible passengers, then it will have to be armed with remedies immediately, not in the future

Plaintiffs in the case are asking that as taxis are retired over the next few years, all new cabs be accessible models. The Nissan NV 200, the model chosen by the city to be the “Taxi of Tomorrow,” has to be retrofitted to fit wheelchairs.

Industry opponents argue requiring 100 percent accessibility isn't feasible and is too expensive.

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Transportation Nation

NYC Okays Wheelchair Accessible Cab

Thursday, October 20, 2011

An MV-1, parked outside NYC TLC headquarters (photo by Kate Hinds)

New York just approved a new vehicle for use in the city's taxi fleet -- a wheelchair-accessible, Indiana-made MV-1.  But riders will only have a few years to hail them before the city's non-accessible "Taxi of Tomorrow" becomes the only sanctioned model.

The vote, which happened at Thursday's Taxi and Limousine Commission meeting, came less than a week after the US Attorney's office weighed in on a lawsuit against the city and said that the lack of wheelchair-accessible cabs violates the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Disabled activists were on hand at the TLC meeting to testify in support of a rules change necessary to authorize the MV-1 -- and to talk about how difficult it is to hail a cab in the city. Jean Ryan with Disabled in Action said the lack of wheelchair-accessible cabs was frustrating.

Advocates for the disabled at the TLC hearing (photo by Kate Hinds)

"We can never see them, and the stickers are in the back," she said. "So they’ve passed us by the time we see that they’re accessible – if we ever see one. It’s like an Elvis sighting.”

City Council member Oliver Koppel was also there to support the rules change -- and to criticize New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who said yesterday that it was too difficult for people in wheelchairs to hail taxis on the street in the first place, and that able-bodied people would feel uncomfortable in a wheelchair-accessible cab because "their suspension is much worse."

“I think the mayor’s concerns are totally off the wall,” Koppell said. He added that “37 members of City Council believe we should have an all-accessible fleet. The US Justice Department believes it. The governor apparently believes it, and it’s long past time for this commission to move in that direction.”

Currently, 231 of New York City's 13,237 taxi cabs are wheelchair accessible.

The MV-1 will retail for about $40,000. It weighs about 5,000 pounds and gets between 13 and 15 miles per gallon, depending on whether the engine uses compressed natural gas or regular fuel. No word yet on how many NYC medallion owners might be tempted to purchase one. But even if drivers take the plunge, they'll only be able to pilot it for a few more years. In May, the city awarded Nissan the contract for the Taxi of Tomorrow. The NV200 will begin to hit the streets by late 2013 and the Nissan will be the only cab in town by 2018. But the NV200 is not wheelchair accessible.

Assembly Member Micah Kellner, wearing a yellow and black button that said "Separate Is Not Equal," said at the TLC meeting: “I don’t care what the Taxi of Tomorrow is, because I think at the end of the day the Justice Department is going to decide that for us.”

Another view of the MV-1 (photo by Kate Hinds)

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WNYC News

U.S. Attorney Weighs In On The Lack of Wheelchair Accessible Cabs

Friday, October 14, 2011

WNYC

Disability rights groups said a rare move by the U.S Attorney in Manhattan will get them a step closer to bringing more accessible taxis to New York's streets.

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WNYC News

City's Taxi Legislation Hitting Road Blocks in the State Senate

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

WNYC

The city's so-called 5 Borough Taxi Plan that would legalize street hails throughout the city may have to undergo some serious re-working in order to pass the state Senate, according to Senator Martin Golden's chief of staff, Gerry Kassar.

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WNYC News

Taxi Group Reverses Stance on Livery Street Hails on Day of Planned Protest

Monday, June 20, 2011

WNYC

In a stunning reversal, a group representing thousands of the city’s taxi drivers threw its support behind legislation that would allow livery cabs to pick up street hails despite its intention to attend a protest of the plan Monday.

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Transportation Nation

NYC Mayor Goes After Cabbies Who Refuse Outer Borough Fares

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

(New York -- Stephen Nessen, WNYC) The city is further cracking down on taxis that refuse to drive outside of Manhattan with a proposal for steeper fines and possibly revoking the license of repeat offenders. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Wednesday said such "geographic discrimination" is unacceptable and on the rise.

Under the new proposal, the city would issue a $500 fine for the first offense, a $750 fine and a 30-day suspension of the driver's license for a second offense within 24 months of the previous offense. A third offense would result in loss of TLC license.

"It doesn't matter which borough you are coming from or which borough you're going to, if you want to hail a cab, New York City cab drivers are required by law to take you to any destination in the city," Bloomberg said. "Without argument, pure and simple."

The Taxi and Limousine Commission has been creating undercover videos using Baruch college students posing as passengers hailing taxis to locations outside of Manhattan.

In one video, the student asks for a ride to Liberty Ave. and Lefferts Blvd. in Queens, and is flatly refused. He asks the taxi driver if he has a map, and the driver speeds off. (You can see the video, from Mayor Bloomberg's YouTube channel, below.)

The mayor was joined by TLC chairman David Yassky and City Council Transportation Committee Chair James Vacca, who is sponsoring the legislation. Yassky and Bloomberg said the number of cab refusals is on the rise and that when it occurs passengers should call 311 and report the medallion number of the driver.

The TLC currently has 100 enforcement agents ensuring city taxi drivers are obeying the rules. Yassky warned drivers that "if you turn down a fare that may well be a TLC enforcement agent."

Licensed taxi drivers are required to carry a map of the city, but not a GPS.

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WNYC News

Bloomberg Rips Cabbies Who Refuse to Accept Riders

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

The city is further cracking down on taxis that refuse to drive outside of Manhattan with a proposal for steeper fines and possibly revoking the license of repeat offenders. Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Wednesday said such "geographic discrimination" is unacceptable and on the rise.

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Transportation Nation

TN Moving Stories: WTC Transit Hub Costs Bloom, NY Goes After Cabbies Who Refuse Outer Boro Fares, and Another Toyota Recall

Friday, February 25, 2011

The cost of the transit center at the new World Trade Center site has ballooned to $3.4 billion -- a figure once deemed "simply unacceptable" by the Port Authority. (New York Times)

An Illinois congressman who voted to eliminate funding for an Amtrak line sounds like he hopes to get the chance to reconsider. (WQAD)

WNYC looks at the differing accounts of how the NYPD and the MTA coordinated efforts to capture an accused stabber on a subway train earlier this month.

NY's Taxi and Limousine Commission wants to stiffen fines for cabbies who refuse to make outer borough trips. (WNYC)

SF's BART owned up to their decision to illegally fire their general manager --then rescind that firing -- but her fate as head of the transit district remains unclear. (San Francisco Chronicle)

Denver may have to refund $1.2 million in parking tickets after an investigation showed that they were issued by non-authorized agents. (Denver Daily News)

Toyota is recalling over 2 million vehicles for carpet and floor-mat flaws that could jam gas pedals. (Bloomberg)

Los Angeles's historic Union Station will be purchased by the LA County Metropolitan Transportation Authority for $75 million under a deal that will clear the way for the expansion of transit operations and new development on the property. (Los Angeles Times)

Top Transportation Nation stories we're following: Florida's high-speed rail project is dead again -- which enrages -- and disappoints -- some politicians.

Follow Transportation Nation on Twitter.

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WNYC News

Trip Refusals May Soon Cost Cabbies a Lot More

Thursday, February 24, 2011

WNYC

The Taxi and Limousine Commission said the age-old problem of drivers rejecting rides to various destinations is getting worse. The city is seeking to seriously stiffen fines for cabbies who refuse outer borough destinations after passenger complaints about trip refusals skyrocketed 38 percent.

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WNYC News

New Yorkers Hail Turkish Taxi as Frontrunner in Cab Contest

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Taxi and Limousine Commission is hoping to get New Yorkers into the driver's seat when it comes to redesigning the city's cabs.

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WNYC News

City Announces Taxi Design Finalists

Monday, November 15, 2010

WNYC

The sedan is out, the van is in. New York city's iconic taxi cab is about to get a makeover.

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