Hello to all! I hope you all had a great Independence Day weekend and are enjoying the warm summer weather. I have a fair amount of news to report to you, so I’ll just jump right into it.

As July starts, I would like to remind everyone that the City’s alternate side parking regulations have returned, as of July 5th. When the pandemic first struck, alternate side parking regulations were fully suspended for some time. When they returned, only the second day for streets with two-day alternate side parking rules (ie. Tuesday & Thursday) were enforced. That meant you could effectively ignore the first day of alternate side parking and just move your car for the second day.

As of July 5th, both days will be enforced again and this will undoubtedly be frustrating, as most of us have gotten used to the single day enforcement that has been the case for almost two years. It’ll take some time to adjust so I encourage everyone to plan accordingly and not get hit with a pricey fine!

At the end of June, Governor Hochul officially signed the law which will allow speed cameras to operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week in New York City. Under the previous program, the cameras were only allowed to operate on weekdays, between 6:00am and 10:00pm. Make sure to watch your speed, especially late at night when there’s little traffic because the cameras will get you as soon as you are 10mph over the posted speed limit.

Earlier in June, Governor Hochul cast some doubt that congestion pricing would be implemented within the next year, due to delays on the Federal level. There was also a feeling that the implementation of congestion pricing, particularly during the current economic climate, would be wildly unpopular.

However, in late June, the MTA clarified that congestion pricing could go into effect as soon as the end of 2023 or early 2024. I think this is the most likely timeline for congestion pricing, as there is still a lot that needs to be done, but further delays would threaten the MTA’s ability to stay on track with the capital repairs that need to be done.

Moving onto news from The Black Car Fund, I’m happy to announce that we have increased our Driver Death Benefit from $50,000 to $100,000. As you know this benefit was established back in 2016 and it was aimed at providing financial support to the families of Covered Drivers in the event of a work-related death. This benefit is paid out separately – and in addition to – any and all other death benefits that a Covered Drivers’ family is entitled to under New York workers’ compensation law. Over the past year alone, The Fund has paid this benefit out to several families. The most recent payment will be made to the family of a driver who tragically died after being t-boned by a hit-and-run driver as he neared the end of his overnight shift.

On a final note, I mentioned last month that both the New York State Senate and Assembly passed the important extender bill which will allow us to continue providing additional free health, wellness and education related benefits to our Covered Drivers. We are excitedly waiting for Governor Hochul to sign it into law, and as soon as it is, we look forward to announcing an even greater expansion of the free benefits we offer, including a new online driver education class that drivers will be also be paid to complete!

In the meantime, please make sure you are signed up with Drivers Benefits, which administers most of our additional benefits, so that you can begin using them! Visit https://ny.driversbenefits.org to learn more and sign up!

Lastly, don’t forget that if you’re a Covered Driver with an accepted Workers’ Compensation claim and have been receiving your indemnity payments by paper check, you can now receive them via Direct Deposit! If you would like to enroll in Direct Deposit, please visit www.nybcf.org/directdeposit and sign up!

Until next time!

Article by Ira Goldstein

Ira J. Goldstein is the Executive Director of the New York Black Car Fund and Advisor to the Black Car Assistance Corp. (BCAC).

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