I hope that you and your families had a safe and happy summer. There is always a lot happening at the TLC, and I am happy to get you up to speed on the latest developments.
Green taxi driver to the rescue!
We were pleased to learn that a green taxi driver recently helped save the day by assisting a woman who had left a purse on a Brooklyn bus last month. The story is an only in New York story – with a high-tech update. After realizing she left her purse on a bus in Bushwick, passenger Stephanie Seiler e-hailed a green taxi with the ride app Curb. Stephanie and the taxi driver, Mr. Khojaly Nour, were then able to track down the bus at the end of the line in Downtown Brooklyn, using BusTime and Waze.
“He was very kind, competent, and helpful,” Stephanie told the TLC about the great service Mr. Nour provided.
When Stephanie recognized the driver from her bus trip, she learned he had her bag at the front of the bus with him for safekeeping. We were gratified to hear that Stephanie was able to find the missing bag, and we commend Mr. Nour for his outstanding service.
Paying Our Respects to a Longtime Driver
Last month, taxicab driver Mehari Bokrezion passed away in a taxi stand in Soho. Those who saw Mr. Bokrezion thought he was resting, but he had left this world for about 18 hours before he was discovered. According to media reports, Mr. Bokrezion and his family were originally from Eritrea, and he had friends from the fleet Susan Maintenance that came from all over the world. The City was a better place for the time Mr. Bokrezion spent as a professional driver. We share our deepest condolences with his family, and thank Mr. Bokrezion for his years of service to the riding public, doing his part to help more than one million New Yorkers and other visitors to our City get safely home each day.
FYI, the NY Times had a very informative piece about Mr. Bokrezion’s life and memorial service, which really reads like the tribute he deserved: https://www.nytimes.com/ 2017/08/17/nyregion/family-remembers-cabby-dead-for-18-hours-in-taxi.html?_r=0
Gratitude to NYPD
The NYPD recently made an arrest following a series of robberies of taxi drivers in Manhattan, where a suspect on a cycle had reached through the window and taken money from the driver’s front pocket. We are thankful to learn that the police department has made this apprehension. Although an arrest has been made, it is always important to remain vigilant. Whenever possible, avoid putting cash in your front pocket, and be particularly cautious when the taxis windows are down and the vehicle is stopped in traffic. Your safety is the top priority, and we are greatly appreciative of drivers’ heightened awareness.
The TLC recently launched the TLC Upload Portal (TLC UP), which is a quicker and easier way for new driver and vehicle applicants to submit documents needed for licensing online. Through the portal, applicants can check the status of their submitted documents, and see whether a document has been accepted. If an incorrect document has been uploaded, you can remove it and submit the correct one. You can see a log of each item that has been submitted, and an always up-to-date list of all missing requirements. The process is more efficient and informative for applicants than sending in documents through email or postal mail.
As of writing this column, over 22,000 documents have been uploaded by applicants via TLC UP, and 90% have been reviewed and accepted by the TLC. We look forward to making our licensing processes easier and more convenient, and appreciate the feedback we have received so far about the ease of use of TLC UP.
Over the summer, the MTA board approved a one-year test and evaluation program to dispatch Access-a-Ride (AAR) trips to yellow and green taxis using the Curb app. This approval followed at least 35,000 successful AAR trips with TLC-licensed vehicles – including vehicles using the Curb app – between late 2016 and July 2017. The pilot contract calls for about 1,000 Access-a-Ride trips daily being completed with taxis through the Curb app over the course of the year. Drivers receive a metered fare for the completed trip. We anticipate the use of taxis providing greater flexibility, efficiency and mobility for paratransit riders, and greatly appreciate the work of TLC-licensed drivers in providing these trips.
FHV Accessibility Hearing
If you haven’t yet heard, we will be talking about enhanced accessibility in the For-Hire Vehicle (FHV) sector in a public hearing this month on September 28. You can learn about the rules the TLC has proposed here: http://www.nyc.gov/html/tlc/downloads/pdf/proposed_req_wheelchair_accessibility_6_30_17.pd.
As always, we look forward to hearing your input and seeing you there.
Until next time… drive like your family lives here!