It’s hard to believe this month marks the start of a new decade. On behalf of the staff at TLC, I hope you and your family had a festive and happy holiday season, and I wish you a safe and healthy New Year!
Many taxi and for-hire vehicle drivers go the extra mile to find and return lost items for passengers.
About a million taxi and for-hire vehicle trips are done a day in New York City. Although these rides overwhelmingly go smoothly, it can be easy for a passenger to forget something in the backseat, or for an item to slide to the floor. I would like to thank the TLC licensees that make finding missing items possible. Each year, drivers find passports, medicine, wallets, phones, jewelry and other items of sentimental value.
On their own time, drivers scour the car for a missing item. It’s not uncommon for passengers to write to the TLC and tell us that a driver went to extraordinary lengths to return a missing item, such as traveling to FedEx to rush a lost item to the rider. Or a driver may return to the passenger’s building and return their passport, phone or wallet before he or she even noticed it was missing.
Staff members often perform near-miracles to track down property without receipts or other identifying information. Towards the end of last year, TLC employee Gloria Ramos reunited Brooklyn filmmaker Spike Lee with a missing phone twice. She also recently helped a passenger who lost $30,000 in a taxi and reported it to 311. There was no receipt, but Gloria was able to find the taxi. The driver met with the passenger at LaGuardia Airport to give him the missing cash. Well done to the TLC licensees who deserve great recognition for these customer service accomplishments, as well as our dedicated Lost Property Unit team. New York City runs a little more smoothly because of the diligence and care you share with the public!
Safe, professional drivers play a pivotal role in ending traffic fatalities on city streets, and the TLC has been proud to be a part of Vision Zero since its inception in 2014, and we wanted to share the latest milestones from 2019 with you.
Last year, the TLC recognized 433 full-time drivers at our Honor Roll for their outstanding records, which includes four years without a safety violation, as well as no serious crashes. This included 307 yellow taxi drivers, 58 green taxi drivers, 186 for-hire vehicle drivers and 28 commuter van drivers. One driver, Howard Kugelman, has been recognized for all six years of Honor Roll. Twenty drivers have made the Honor Roll four times, and seven drivers have been recognized five times.
We also want to highlight that over 11,000 drivers received Vision Zero education in 2019, and that drivers have taken part in 661 outreach meetings. Over 32,000 “Look for Cyclist” stickers have been made available at FHV driver centers, as well as at our inspection facility, for drivers to post on their windows as well.
We appreciate the work you do to stay vigilant and share the road safely with pedestrians, cyclists, and other motorists – it makes a major difference in the lives of all New Yorkers.