Crazy as it may seem, 2021 is rapidly coming to a close. While our industry has more than its share of problems, there’s one major issue that is completely avoidable: Drivers participating in the New York Black Car Fund (BCF) could lose many of the FREE benefits the Fund has worked so hard to bring you, if more drivers don’t sign up for them.
I am not implying that your worker’s compensation benefits will lapse. Those are set in stone. But the list of free medical, dental, vision, prescription and mental health benefits – among others – could disappear at the end of 2022, when legislation that enables the BCF to provide them free of charge lapses. Additional state legislation will be required, and the decision of whether or not to continue these programs will be largely influenced by whether enough drivers are taking advantage of them.
Working in conjunction with the Independent Driver’s Guild (IDG), the long list of benefits that the Fund provides helps drivers save literally thousands of dollars each year (and more). Don’t wait until you NEED them. Sign up NOW! If you already signed up, please encourage every driver you know to do the same.
To sign up, just visit: https://driversbenefits.org/activate-now/?utm_source=WB. Additional information is available at http://www.nybcf.org/ or https://driversbenefits.org/benefits/, or by calling 212.269.4800. If you already activated your benefits, call 855.979.1445, if you need additional assistance.
FYI: The IDG is providing access to free flu shots again this year (until March 2022). To get your FREE flu shot, just sign up at ny.driversbenefits.org.
In the past month, the BCF put their Vision Van back on the road, most recently at La Guardia Airport. Having the right eyeglasses is essential to your safety and the safety of your passengers, pedestrians and other drivers. Base owners can request that a van come to their location on a particular day and time. Drivers can just walk in, get a free check-up and a FREE pair of glasses.
I know people are busy, and when something sounds “too good to be true” it generally is – but that’s not the case here. These additional programs are paid for by the same surcharge on every ride that gives independent contractor drivers their workers’ compensation insurance. But they will disappear if not enough people take advantage of them.
Could the FHV Cap Finally Be Lifted for Traditional Bases?
From what I’ve been hearing, TLC Chairperson, Aloysee Heredia Jarmoszuk is considering lifting the FHV cap for traditional FHV bases. Some additional legislation may be necessary, but it’s encouraging to hear the conversation is being discussed. The sooner the better. Traditional bases are caught in a terrible spot as the economy begins to bounce back. New work is coming in, but many bases don’t have the drivers to cover it.
The Black Car & Livery Task Force is about to hold its final meeting as I type this and will be releasing a report that will hopefully show that lifting the FHV cap on traditional bases will not add significant congestion to city streets but will help revive companies that have served the city’s citizens and visitors for decades. City Council’s Transportation Committee also had its latest hearing in October, and the topic was brought up.
Winter is coming up quick, the weather has already started to turn and it’s getting darker much earlier. Please make sure your vehicle is prepared for the colder weather (and snow) and prepare yourself with a vision check-up, flu shot and all of the other benefits available to drivers that participate in the BCF.