The New York City Taxi & Limousine Commission (TLC) approved a plan on May 3 to add up to 2,500 for-hire vehicles (FHV) in the outer-boroughs and Upper Manhattan, by repurposing unused street-hail livery (SHL) permits. According to the TLC, the new program is meant to revitalize the long-struggling livery sector.

Under the two-year pilot, the TLC plans to phase out green “Boro Taxis,” allowing TLC-licensed drivers to operate vehicles of any color, except green or yellow. Only “minimal required markings” will be required, but cars must be electric, hybrid or wheelchair accessible, and can only be used for pre-arranged trips (no street hails). The TLC began accepting applications for the new permits on May 16.

The number of green cabs has plummeted, from more than 6,500 in 2015 to less than 900 still operating in 2023, an 86% drop, according to The City.

“[The new program] is directly based on input from the industry, and we’re excited to see what happens,” a TLC notice stated. “We’ll be tracking both the demand for these licenses and their resultant trip numbers very closely.”

“In removing the ability to accept [street] hails, we are also going to be removing the need for a lot of equipment and the expenses for same,” said Daniel Goddin, assistant general counsel for TLC. “For example, a participant will no longer need a meter, will no longer need a roof light.”

Not everyone is happy about the new pilot program. Members of the Taxi Workers Alliance protested at the hearing, arguing the city does not need additional FHVs. Protestors claimed “ridership is still well below pre-pandemic levels” – adding that the city already approved 1,000 new EV FHV licenses this year.

TLC-licensed drivers interested in participating in the program must review and sign an Authorization Agreement (similar to a Memorandum of Understanding), which can be found at: https://www.nyc.gov/site/tlc/about/shl-pilot-program-license.page. You can also email comments, questions, or suggestions to: tlcpilots@tlc.nyc.gov.

Sources: NBC New York, Fox 5 New York, Patch New York City

Article by Black Car News

Black Car News provides breaking news, editorial, and information to drivers, owners, and other key players in the New York City for-hire vehicle industry.

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