It has never been more obvious that banding together is a necessity for so many in our industry hoping to survive this devastating time in our nation’s history. Whether it’s Taxi drivers seeking medallion-debt relief shutting down the Brooklyn Bridge, bases joining forces to lower costs by sharing resources, or companies supporting the industry organizations that have the muscle to negotiate with agencies like the Port Authority or Taxi & Limousine Commission (TLC), we have seen time and again that there is STRENGTH IN NUMBERS, and that trying to go it alone is an increasingly difficult prospect.

“We need to remain strong and we need to stand together,” said Diana Clemente, President of the Black Car Assistance Corporation (BCAC) and Big Apple Car, who was recently appointed to the city’s Black Car & Livery Task Force by Mayor de Blasio and Commissioner Aloysee Heredia Jarmoszuk. “The BCAC is our mechanism for standing together and facing the challenges that are unique to our industry… as we tirelessly fight for our survival.”

According to Ms. Clemente, the task force will study the For-Hire Vehicle (FHV) industry, help identify the challenges ahead and ascertain the viability and necessary reforms required for the survival of the various segments operating under the auspices of the TLC.

In December, the TLC included language in its “cleanup rules” specifically drafted by the BCAC to ensure that traditional bases – including franchises and cooperatives – are treated fairly, and not lumped in with HVFHV bases. The BCAC also simultaneously negotiated with the Port Authority (PA) on proposed fees and onerous requirements.

It’s no exaggeration to say that, without the BCAC’s hard work, few bases would have been able to survive the PA’s new rules, had they gone into effect as intended. Thanks to the BCAC, the initial volume-based permit application fee was eliminated, along with the proposed $5 million liability insurance requirement. A costly geofencing requirement was also eliminated and the PA agreed to waive required deposits less than $1,000 – thus saving smaller, struggling bases hanging on by a thread.

There was no way to stop the PA’s upcoming Airport Access Fees, but it now can be paid on a quarterly basis, rather than monthly, thanks to the BCAC. Monthly fees would have certainly caused devastating cash-flow issues for many traditional bases, due to existing payment terms with their corporate accounts.

“It’s difficult to imagine how most of the remaining traditional bases would have survived without the BCAC’s efforts,” noted BCAC Executive Director, Ira Goldstein. “Many of them would likely have been unable to continue serving the local airports.”

As we all know, there is more work ahead – including congestion pricing and further reforms at the TLC – so I strongly encourage all bases that benefit from the BCAC’s hard work to join (or rejoin) the organization IMMEDIATELY. I know this is a terrible time to ask for dues to an industry association, but don’t forget that you probably wouldn’t still have a business if it wasn’t for the BCAC.

The BCAC is allowing members to pay their dues in monthly installments, rather than what might otherwise be an unmanageable lump sum. I urge all bases to stand up, stand together and contribute to the organization that has given traditional bases a lifeline to continue on in this difficult environment.

Stay well, stay healthy and please follow all Covid-19 protocols. There finally seems to be a light at the end of the tunnel.

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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