August Update 

Greetings, I hope this message finds you safe and well. The following are the latest updates on TLC driver safety protocols, a reminder on face covering requirements, and the recently-released report on industry activity since March 2020.

TLC Driver Safety Protocols

At the TLC, protecting drivers is part of our Agency mission. With nearly 200,000 drivers licensed by the Agency, we interact with hundreds of individuals daily and our online services and communication extend our reach to thousands more. But beyond the core services we provide to drivers, we play a part in protecting your safety.

One thing we have expanded during my time at TLC is providing support to drivers who have been assaulted.

If a TLC employee ever witnesses or sees evidence online of a verbal or physical attack against a Driver, the Agency will initiate an investigation and reach out to the Driver once identified. If a Driver appears in imminent danger, TLC will alert emergency responders immediately.

If we learn that a driver has been the victim of a crime, a Staff Member will call the Driver to check-in and connect them with all available resources for crime victims. TLC Enforcement works with the NYPD to assist in the criminal investigation until the case is closed.

If you have been harassed or a victim of violence, please email TLC for advocacy and action at [email protected]. If you are interested in learning more about the services and resource we provide drivers who have been the victim of verbal or physical assault as well as other resources we offer all drivers, I encourage you to visit our Drive Resources webpage: https://www1.nyc.gov/site/tlc/drivers/driver-resources.page.

COVID-19 Trip Report 

The TLC published a report on July 29 offering insight on the effects of COVID-19 on the City’s taxi and for-hire vehicle (FHV) sectors. The analysis, “COVID-19 Impact on the NYC For-Hire Industry,” covers the period from March 15 to June 30, 2020 and found that decreases in passenger demand tracked a decline in economic activity, including business travel, tourism, entertainment, and nightlife.

The report also documented the essential work of thousands of TLC-licensed drivers who helped the City keep vulnerable New Yorkers from going hungry by participating in the Get Food NYC Program. TLC Drivers have delivered over 53 million meals to City residents, and they have so far been paid $29.5 million for their hard work during the pandemic. Some TLC-licensed Drivers also worked during this period by delivering transporting essential workers, such as hospital staff.

While an increase in trips has started, the long-term effects of the pandemic are still unknown. TLC-licensed Drivers continue to serve as a vital link for food-insecure New Yorkers, and the TLC will continue to support and connect drivers with important economic and health resources. After the report was published, I wrote an opinion piece about how the TLC and our licensees pushed back together: https://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/ny-oped-cabbies-are-hurting-more-than-ever-20200730-2hozrlecrnahpikubtouiijnzm-story.html. I look forward to building on this work with you as the City recovers and continues to fight COVID-19.

Driver Resource Center  

Given the uncertainty over the federal government continuing unemployment benefits at their current levels, you may want to visit our TLC Driver Resources Webpage and make sure you are aware of all available financial resources, such as public benefits, food assistance, work opportunities during COVID-19, health care, and telemedicine. Our TLC Driver Resource Center also offers a wide range of services, including financial counseling and legal assistance services. You can schedule one-on-one appointments with a financial counselor to help you learn strategies to manage money and create a spending plan, minimize debt, draft letters to creditors to lower payments or suspend payments due to hardship, access public financial resources, and more.

You can schedule an appointment here: https://portal.driverresourcecenter.tlc.nyc.gov/eligibility/ or by emailing [email protected] if you are a Medallion owner without an active TLC License.

Face Coverings

As a reminder, all drivers and passengers must wear a face covering while in a TLC-licensed vehicle. The face covering must cover the nose and mouth. In the interest of safety, Drivers have the right to not transport passengers if they refuse to wear a mask.

For more information, please visit https://www1.nyc.gov/assets/tlc/downloads/pdf/industry_notice_20_08_english.pdf.

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Article by Aloysee Heredia Jarmoszuk

Aloysee Heredia Jarmoszuk is the Commissioner/Chair of the New York City Taxi & Limousine Commission.

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