New York’s City Council passed legislation in November designed to curb illegal commuter van operations in New York City (NYC), while protecting those businesses that operate legitimately. The bill, introduced by Councilmember Jumaane D. Williams in May, amends the definition of “for-hire vehicle” to include vehicles that seat more than 20 passengers and places them under the authority of the NYC Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) to enforce regulations, safety standards and licensing.
“This bill is a significant step in the right direction in curbing the proliferation of unlicensed commuter vans with a seating capacity in excess of 20,” said Hector Ricketts, president of the Commuter Van Association of New York. “The TLC will [soon] have the authority to enforce against these operators who, for too long, have been circumventing the system, endangering the public and hurting licensed commuter van businesses.”
Under the previous law, TLC was only permitted to regulate vehicles containing up to 20 seats, allowing some operators to circumvent regulations and licensing by adding more capacity to their vehicles. This loophole disadvantaged law-abiding businesses providing service to communities lacking sufficient public transportation. The new bill would force all drivers to adhere to existing safety regulations.
Commuter or “Dollar” vans have been a significant part of NYC’s transit system for well over 30 years, particularly in Williams’ district. With Councilmember I. Daneek Miller, he previously co-sponsored the Commuter Van Safety Act, which cracked down on dangerous and illegitimate operations to improve safety for both businesses and passengers.
Source: BK Reader