The goal – to provide better, more inclusive transportation options to people who require Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles (WAVs) – was clearly a noble one, and certainly a worthwhile cause, but it’s a good thing the For-Hire Vehicle (FHV) Industry Coalition developed its own program. You can’t provide transportation to anyone if you’re out of business, and that would be the likely outcome for most FHV service providers in NYC if they had to comply with the original TLC rulemaking, which calls for a percentage of all trips to be dispatched to WAVs, regardless of whether or not the client asks for one (5% in 2019, rising by increments of 5% each year until it reaches 25% in 2021).
That isn’t to say that any of this will be easy, but the FHV industry doesn’t have a lot of options at this point, and the Coalition’s plan is a whole lot easier to achieve. Beginning July 1, 2019, the TLC will begin reviewing base compliance levels and other information to determine if any changes need to be made to the timelines/service levels laid out in the rule. So, we are recommending you begin the process of achieving compliance as soon as details become available, which should be very soon.
Although there is a pile of other industry-changing bills and rules being discussed and tweaked at the moment, the TLC Board of Commissioners, at the October 3 hearing, voted to approve the terms of the settlement reached with the FHV Industry Coalition regarding wheelchair accessibility. Visit www.nyc.gov/html/tlc/downloads/pdf/promulgated_amendment.pdf to read the TLC’s Notice of Promulgation of its FHV Accessibility rules, which includes the full language of the new regulation. Since the language in the new rules is very complex, the FHV Industry Coalition provided the following comprehensive guide.
FHV WAV Rules: An Overview
The FHV Industry Coalition was formed with the specific purpose of creating an alternative program to the TLC’s original percentage-based plan. Bases may choose to enter into service agreements with a TLC-approved Accessible Vehicle Dispatcher (AVD), allowing them to send all received requests for WAVs to their chosen AVD, ensuring compliance with the rule. Bases can also apply to become approved as an AVD, but it should be noted that there will be strictly-enforced service requirements and an inflexible timeline.
Bases looking to be approved as an AVD must meet the following service criteria:
  • June 2019: service at least 60% of WAV requests in under 15 min, 90% in under 30 min
  • June 2020: service at least 80% of WAV requests in under 15 min, 90% in under 30 min
  • Between June 1, 2021 and June 30, 2021 (and continuing each quarter thereafter): service at least 80% WAV requests in under 10 min, and 90% in under 15 min.
AVDs are required to submit detailed records to the TLC. Failure to do so in a timely manner may result in the immediate termination of AVD status, subjecting the base to the original TLC FHV WAV rule, pro-rated for the duration of the compliance period.
The following trip records will be required for authorized AVDs:
  • Base License Number of the Base submitting the trip request
  • The date and time the AVD received the request
  • The manner the request was received (phone, app, website, etc.)
  • An indicator to show whether or not the trip was competed. If it was completed, the TLC License Number of the vehicle that completed the dispatch must be provided, along with the affiliated base and driver information. This includes the pick-up and drop-off locations of the passenger, the date and time of arrival at the pick-up location and the total amount of passenger wait time.
  • •If a trip is not completed, the following is required: The date, time and location of the request, plus the location of the intended drop-off and reason the trip was not completed.
Choosing an AVD / Becoming an Associated Base
Regarding payment, neither an AVD or an associated base can charge a passenger more than what would be charged for a non-accessible vehicle requested for the same trip. Any violation of this on either the part of the AVD or associated base will result in said base being forced to comply with the original TLC rule.
Reporting requirements: All AVDs and associated bases must submit to the TLC, within one week of the end of each calendar month, all of the complaints and compliments the base and AVD received from passengers the previous month regarding the WAV service provided, as well as driver ratings, where applicable.
Additionally, bases associating with AVDs and AVDs operating as bases are required to provide the following for each WAV request received by the base: the date and time the base received the request, plus the date and time the base forwarded the request to its AVD.
For each request for a non-Accessible Vehicle that results in a completed trip (that counts towards the mandated percentages), the date and time the request was received by the base will need to be provided, along with an indicator corresponding to the trip record for the completed trip. All complaints and compliments received from passengers concerning its provision of wheelchair accessible services, as well as driver ratings must also be supplied, where applicable.
All bases planning on associating with an AVD are REQUIRED to accept WAV requests in the same manner a passenger not seeking an accessible vehicle is able to request a ride. If your base accepts ride requests via app, website, over the phone and e-mail, you will now be required to ensure each of those booking paths allows for a WAV reservation, in-line with the standard reservation abilities currently offered. Failure to achieve this functionality may result in being removed from the FHV Coalition program and cause you to adhere to the original TLC rule.
Beginning July 1, 2019, the TLC will begin reviewing base compliance levels, as well as other information collected to determine if any changes need to be made to the timelines/service levels laid out in the rule.
If your contracted AVD loses its TLC approval or the AVD terminates your service agreement, you must do one of the following to remain in compliance:
  • Associate with a different AVD within 30 days of TLC notice of termination
  • Submit to the TLC an application to become approved as an AVD, also within 30 days of TLC notice.
Should either an associated base or AVD fail to do either of those two things, they will be required to abide by the original TLC rule.

Currently, the TLC is still working to get the program up and running. For more info, visit: www.nyc.gov/html/tlc/html/industry/fhv_accessibility.shtml.

Bases looking for additional information on how to sign up with an AVD can visit: www.nyc.gov/html/tlc/html/industry/fhv_accessibility_participating_bases.shtml.

Bases that would like to became an AVD can find out more by visiting: www.nyc.gov/html/tlc/html/industry/fhv_accessibility_wav_dispatcher.shtml.

In other news, the TLC is holding an important public hearing at 10:00 a.m. on November 28, in the TLC hearing room at 33 Beaver St, 19th Floor, New York, NY 10004. Rules written to establish a new FHV category, High-Volume For-Hire Services (HVFHS), will be discussed, along with new Congestion Pricing rules. We recommend that everyone attend this important meeting.

More details about the new HVFHS category can be found at: www.nyc.gov/html/tlc/downloads/pdf/proposed_high_volume_for_hire_service_providers.pdf.

For more information about Congestion Pricing fees, which will need to charged starting January 1, 2019, visit: www.nyc.gov/html/tlc/downloads/pdf/proposed_congestion_surcharge_for_taxicab_and_fhv_trips.pdf.

Before I sign off for the month, everyone here at Black Car Newswould like to offer our deepest condolences to the families and friends of Fausto Luna, the seventh NYC TLC-regulated driver to commit suicide this past year. Mr. Luna, who was only 58 years old, jumped in front of an A train at a New York City subway station in Manhattan on September 26.

It’s a terrible tragedy, and we strongly urge anyone who is feeling depressed, or has any thoughts of self-harm, to reach out to NYC Well. You can text “Well” to 65173, call 1-888-NYC-Well, or chat online with a counselor at: https://nycwell.cityofnewyork.us/en/get-help-now/chat-with-a-counselor-now. Interpreters are available for more than 200 languages, and there is relay service for callers who are deaf or hard of hearing.

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Article by Neil Weiss

Neil Weiss is the Editor/Publisher/Owner of Black Car News and Livery Times. He has been involved in the ground transportation industry since 1991, writing thousands of articles on a wide variety of subjects.

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