New anti-congestion rules in effect
I am happy to report that last month, the TLC Commissioners unanimously approved our new anti-congestion rules, which require app companies to significantly reduce the time their cars cruise without passengers in the most congested part of the city. These regulations, which will ensure companies use drivers’ time efficiently and are part of citywide efforts to reduce congestion, are a win for the City and TLC-licensed drivers.
We also approved a one-year extension of the cap on new for-hire vehicles that are not wheelchair accessible and created a new exemption for electric vehicles. Since the cap went into effect last year, wheelchair accessible vehicles have grown from 226 in August 2018 to 817 today – an increase of more than 260%. The more accessible vehicles go on the road, the more our City’s for-hire fleets become more accessible to all New Yorkers.
These rules represent an important step in for-hire regulation in New York City, but there is still important work to be done. Many drivers have told the TLC they are concerned about the terms and conditions of their for-hire vehicle leases. We have heard these concerns loud and clear, and we are investigating them to understand the full scope of the issues and determine if additional regulations are needed.
Since the rules passed, there has been some interest from drivers in electric vehicles. Electric vehicles are cars that are powered solely by a battery – hybrids and plug-in hybrids (such as the Chevrolet Volt, Toyota Highlander Hybrid, and Toyota Prius Prime Plug-In Hybrid) are not electric vehicles, and are not eligible for the exception to the license cap. Examples of fully electric vehicles that would qualify for the exception to the cap include the Chevrolet Bolt, Nissan Leaf, and Tesla Model 3.
Any driver interested in purchasing an electric vehicle should make sure they have a reliable place to charge it. They should also choose a vehicle that has a battery range that exceeds the number of miles they cover in a typical workday or know where they can spend time charging the vehicle during breaks in the workday. The impacts of winter and summer temperatures are also something drivers should consider. Extreme temperatures lower an electric vehicle’s range because of the electric heat or air conditioning needed to keep the inside of a vehicle comfortable for drivers and passengers.
It is important to note that it takes time to charge an electric vehicle. The time it takes varies depending on the type of charger that is used. Level 1 chargers, which use the standard electricity in a household, only add between two and five miles of range for every hour the vehicle is charged. Level two chargers, which are the most commonly-available chargers, add about 20 miles of range per hour. Direct Current (DC) Fast Chargers add about 90 miles of range in about 30 minutes. You can find out more about the exemption at bit.ly/tlcexplainer, and view at a map of electric vehicle charging stations in the United States at bit.ly/electricvehiclemap.
We are pleased to recognize a recent accomplishment of TLC staffer Harbhajan Kaur, who supervises the cashiers at our Long Island City office. Harbhajan has served at the TLC for almost 25 years, and received an award in August from the Mayor’s Office of Operations for her excellent service in providing language access to those seeking help in Hindi on two different instances.
Over 90% of TLC-licensed drivers are immigrants and they speak over 100 different languages. Providing language access services to our drivers is a critical service of the TLC, and essential to our continued efforts to improve agency communications to all of our licensees. We are extremely proud of Harbhajan for receiving this recognition from the Mayor’s Office – well done!