Greetings from the NYC Taxi and Limousine Commission.
TAXI MEDALLION OWNER RELIEF PLAN
Before COVID-19, the Taxi Sector in New York City faced a significant financial crisis, which has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 Pandemic. Since I began as Commissioner in mid-February of 2020, I have spoken with many Medallion Owners and TLC Licensees, representing all sectors, about how we, together, can rebuild our beloved Industry, with special attention to the segments that need the most, including Taxis, Traditional Black Cars and Liveries. We discussed ways that we can leverage better technology and equitable regulation across sectors, as well as ensuring that both Drivers and Passengers can feel as safe as possible during trips with COVID-specific measures like face coverings.
On March 9, 2021, Mayor de Blasio and I announced a City-funded, $65 million Taxi Medallion Owner Relief Plan. Under the Plan, the City will provide individual Medallion Owners $20,000 to use as a down payment to facilitate the restructure of their current Medallion-related loan with the goal of seeing their overall debt and monthly payments substantially reduced. Since each Medallion Owner’s situation is different, the Plan provides the flexibility needed for renegotiating terms that work for an individual Medallion Owner’s specific loan, without the City establishing an arbitrary value for all medallions and without exposing the entire market to uncertain risks. The City will also provide Medallion Owners with up to $9,000 to cover as much as six-months of loan payments after each restructure, should the Medallion Owner need supplemental assistance with monthly payments as the City’s economy begins to reopen.
Of course, the value of these payment can be worth far more than $20,000 to medallion owners. We are confident that our Plan can reduce hundreds of millions of dollars in Medallion Owner debt through restructuring. Time is of the essence, and we encourage interested Medallion Owners to email MRP@tlc.nyc.gov with their contact information. Interested parties can also get information by making an appointment with the TLC’s Owner-Driver Resource Center at https://portal.driverresourcecenter.tlc.nyc.gov/eligibility/.
PANDEMIC PAYROLL PROTECTION LOANS
The period for Pandemic Payroll Protection loans ends on March 31, and you can apply at https://www.sba.gov/. You can schedule an appointment with the TLC’s Owner/Driver Resource Center if you need support with your application. Small businesses, such as Bases and Medallion Owners, may be eligible for a loan to cover expenses like rent, mortgage, or medical leave. Loans are federally guaranteed with interest capped at 1% per year and may be forgivable. Given the tight timeline, it is important that you contact the Owner/Driver Resource Center immediately to schedule an appointment at https://portal.driverresourcecenter.tlc.nyc.gov/eligibility/.
On March 2, the TLC began a series of roundtable discussions with TLC-Licensed Bases citywide. These roundtables give Bases the opportunity to engage with TLC Enforcement, Licensing, and Prosecution staff in real-time to effectively collaborate on compliance. The feedback we receive from Bases will help strengthen their relationship with the TLC, as well as help our Agency to conduct enforcement more strategically and respectfully.
The safety of TLC-Licensed Drivers and Passengers is one of the TLC’s top priorities. Masks are an excellent way to stop COVID-19 from spreading. Recent guidance from the New York City Health Department tells us that wearing two face coverings can provide you with added protection by increasing the number of layers and making the fit snugger. You can use one cloth face covering and one disposable mask together at the same time. Wear the disposable face mask closest to your face, and the cloth face mask on top. If you are wearing a KN95 mask, the guidance recommends wearing it alone.
VACCINES FOR ALL
Vaccines are the best way to fight COVID-19, and three vaccines are available now in New York City. The one that is best is the one available to you. All TLC-Licensed Drivers are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine, as well as New York residents who are 60 or older. Vaccines are available to New Yorkers regardless of immigration status, and you will never be asked about your status at a vaccination site. You can make an appointment at vaccinefinder.nyc.gov, or by calling 877-VAX-4NYC.
Similar to how TLC Licensees helped NYC fight COVID-19, by delivering meals to vulnerable New Yorkers, TLC-Licensed Drivers have also been on the front lines driving nurses to give vaccinations to homebound city residents. We appreciate their hard work greatly and encourage anyone who needs a vaccine in their home to make an appointment at https://forms.cityofnewyork.us/f/homebound.
As more New Yorkers continue to get vaccinated, it is still very important for all TLC Licensees to get tested for COVID-19 regularly. Continuing joint efforts with the NYC Test and Trace Corps, the TLC External Affairs held its Fifth Borough event on Wednesday, March 17, in Harlem, at Marcus Garvey Park . Mobile COVID-19 testing, personal protective equipment, and other resources were made available to all TLC Licensees that attended the event.