Mayor de Blasio’s pick to head the city’s Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC), Aloysee Heredia Jarmoszuk, has stated that she will crack down on drivers regulated by the agency who discriminate against riders based on race or ethnicity. Ms. Heredia Jarmoszuk said during her City Council confirmation hearing that the TLC should have “a zero tolerance rule” for racial profiling.
“I think it would be hard for anyone to do service refusals when the head of the TLC looks like me,” said Heredia Jarmoszuk, who is of Dominican heritage. “We need to make it so that everyone understands that it’s unacceptable to deny anyone transportation in the city.”
Heredia Jarmoszuk said she’s working with the TLC’s Office of Inclusion – which was formed in 2018 – to launch an ad campaign encouraging Taxi and FHV drivers to be more inclusive. She also said a ride-hailing app for yellow and green cabs could help address the problem because it would keep drivers from knowing passengers’ race or destination before they’re picked up.
For decades, civil rights advocates have decried the city’s yellow cab drivers’ reputation of refusing service to black and brown people. Formal complaints of yellow and green taxi drivers refusing service to riders have dipped in recent years, from 4,684 in 2015 to 2,278 in 2018, according to city data. Heredia Jarmoszuk said enforcement will be key to continuing that trend.
Drivers who discriminate against riders are subject to a $300 fine on first offense, and a second offense can cost them $500 (plus a suspension). A third offense can lead to a license revocation and a three-year ban.
Bhairavi Desai, head of the New York Taxi Workers Alliance, said she supports efforts to make cabs more inclusive.
“The one thing that should not be done is pit civil rights against economic rights,” said Desai. “The TLC needs to set criteria on how to measure progress and guide that public discussion.”
Source: New York Daily News