City Council’s For-Hire Vehicle Committee created a bill, that if passed, would create a new category inside New York City’s Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) specifically for app-based services. It would also create tighter regulations and charge higher fees for the Transportation Network Companies (TNCs).

Since entering the NYC market, TNCs like Uber and Lyft have fallen under the Black Car category at the TLC. Black Car bases traditionally serviced corporate accounts, and generally faced lighter regulations than taxis. Industry leaders and regulators are saying that the TNC business model more closely resembles a Taxi company than a traditional Black Car base.

Councilman Ruben Diaz Sr., chairman of the FHV Committee crafted the bill with input from Christopher Lynn, who ran the Taxi and Limousine Commission during the Giuliani administration.

TNCs in NYC have come under scrutiny as their rapid growth has contributed to record levels of congestion in Manhattan, while undermining all other segments of the TLC-regulated industries. Taxi medallions have plummeted in value and several lenders that backed them have gone into receivership. There have also been four suicides by drivers who were struggling to earn a living, in just a few months’ time.

While taxis are capped by the number of medallions at around 13,500, there are more than 100,000 For-Hire Vehicles on the road – this includes Black Cars and Liveries. The number has more than doubled in the past five years, with more than 70,000 drivers working for app-based services.

The FHV Committee bill would reverse the growth of TNCs through a range of measures, including an annual $2,000 fee on each vehicle and environmental requirements that mimic those faced by taxis. Historically, an environmental impact study needed to be conducted before new taxi medallions could be issued. The bill also states that ride requests that come into a base would have to be dispatched to cars working with that specific base – and a base would be able to have no more than 250 vehicles affiliated with it.

Source: Crain’s New York Business

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