Hello to all! September was a very wet month. In fact, as I’m writing this, we have gotten seven straight days of rain. Today, Governor Hochul declared a state of emergency in New York City, Long Island, and the Hudson Valley as heavy rain – nearly seven inches in some areas – has begun causing widespread flooding. Flooding has been an increasingly grave concern for many parts of New York City these last few years. It feels as though we can expect future Septembers to follow this trend. Septembers are usually also busy, with school starting back up and Summer coming to an end. There’s a lot to catch you up on so I’ll just jump right into it.

By the time you’re reading this, the MTA’s Traffic Mobility Review Board, the six-member panel that will recommend a tolling structure for congestion pricing, will have had its third and possibly final meeting (Oct. 2). Few details were given in their press release, but there have been rumors swirling that the decision on the toll structure will be made at this meeting.

As I said last month, while I’m glad that a per-ride surcharge that can be passed on to passengers seems likely to be implemented, there are still concerns about parity among all sectors of the ground transportation industry. If all the sectors aren’t treated equally, this would be a clear case of government picking winners and losers. I hope to have positive news on this to report about in next month’s column.

September was also a busy month from a conference standpoint. The Black Car Fund is a proud sponsor of the Transportation Alliance and their annual conference, which brings together the ground transportation industry from across the country. Our Communications, Outreach and Marketing Manager, Lionel Morales, moderated a panel that focused on how curb space is allocated at airports. The panel brought together various perspectives on the issue for a discussion on the considerations and reasoning that goes into allocating curb space. This issue recently became particularly important in New York with the construction at John F. Kennedy Airport and the shift of for-hire vehicle (FHV) pickups away from the curb and to secondary locations.

Moving on, the highlight of September was undoubtedly The Black Car Fund’s Steering Towards Success Resource Fair! The event turned out better than we could have hoped, with dozens of drivers stopping by our Driver Education Center to learn more about The Fund and the benefits we offer. We also had our claims and auditor teams on hand, and many Member Bases stopped by to speak with them. We handed out tons of free giveaways and some drivers even went home with some great raffle prizes.

We also partnered with the Taxi & Limousine Commission (TLC), Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and Drivers Benefits to give drivers an opportunity to ask TLC licensing questions, have preemptive screenings done and be connected with health resources, and lastly, ensure that our Covered Drivers are enrolled in our Drivers Benefits program.

Speaking of Drivers Benefits, I know I may sound like a broken record at this point, but I really cannot stress enough about how important it is to be enrolled in the program. Our newest benefits, Personal Accident Insurance, the Accidental Disability Insurance Plan, and Critical Illness Insurance, are game-changing and provide you with significant income protection if you become ill or are injured while NOT at work. However, you can only be eligible for these benefits if you are enrolled in the program BEFORE the illness or injury occurs.

The last thing we want to see is a situation where a driver who needs these benefits isn’t able to receive them simply because they are not enrolled. So please, if you’re not enrolled, don’t wait. Head on over to ny.driversbenefits.org and enroll. If you think you’re already enrolled, why not head over there anyway and make sure? Remember, enrolling in Drivers Benefits is free and all the benefits are provided to you at NO-COST, paid for by your passengers!

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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