Safety Honor Roll
The best day of the year at the TLC is always our Safety Honor Roll. This year marked our sixth, and we had the opportunity in October to recognize more than 480 licensees at a reception in the Queens Theatre in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. We honored 433 drivers for their safety records – as well as 25 bases, fleets, and commuter van companies. We also celebrated the achievements of drivers who made important contributions to our Accessible Dispatch Program – one driver did more than 350 trips in 10 months – as well as for customer service.
At the ceremony, one of the top highlights, hands down, is meeting drivers’ families. We are so glad to see them spend such a special day together. We also enjoy hearing speeches from our driver and base honorees, who have so much wisdom to share.
One driver we recognized was Mr. Chaudhry Hussain, who originally came to New York from Pakistan, and has lived in Astoria ever since then. He’s been on the job for 29 years, and he told us that he likes to be his own boss and meet new people.
“Part of what makes my job easier is driving safely,” he said. “In order to drive safely, I have [to keep] a cool mind. This is very important. I don’t drive fast. If someone tries to give me trouble, I say sorry sir, you can go. If someone gives me a honk, I say, you go first.”
He’s right – a major part of what makes a safe driver in a big city like New York is keeping your cool. We greatly appreciate the calmness, focus, and positive energy he brings to the job.
“Pedestrians always go first,” he said. “I always give respect to everyone.”
I want to use the opportunity in this column to spotlight taxi driver Howard Kugelman, who has been on the Honor Roll for all six years. The son of a driver, he has been a taxi driver for many decades. We are in awe of his safe driving skills and strong work ethic – thank you, Mr. Kugelman, for helping so many New Yorkers get to where they need to go.
This year, we also recognized Mavrik Transportation, a Floral Park base that has a great safety record. Their owner, Bijoy Saha, said they’ve never had to report a crash in their 15 years.
“We educate our drivers carefully, making sure that they know speeding is one of the top causes for getting into a crash,” he said. “Mavrik is proud to be part of Vision Zero, and to have some of the safest drivers in New York City. It means a lot to our base to be here today.”
Well, it means a lot to the TLC that the honorees and their families take time out every year for this special recognition. The number of safe drivers continues to grow every year – and we hope to see many more honorees next year!
Customer Service Week
With over 300,000 licensees, customer service is of critical importance to the TLC. Whether it’s resolving a licensing issue, tracking down a missing item, or helping an applicant prepare for the TLC Driver Exam, customer service is a major part of our work. This year, we decided to recognize TLC staffer Stephanie Toro for always going above and beyond to answer questions and resolve issues that drivers are facing.
“I like to give one on one assistance to get to the root of the issue,” she said.
To connect drivers with resources, she sends out a newsletter to licensees called Keys to the City. It always includes a spotlight profile to recognize outstanding drivers. Stephanie also handles many of our bilingual efforts, often providing interpretation services at a moment’s notice, and plays a major role in organizing our Safety Honor Roll every year.
We appreciate the important work she does as a touchpoint for industry members and licensees looking to help. Congratulations on this important achievement!