In this Industry Update, I share information on the most recent TLC Commission Public Meeting, Driver Education, the TLC Food Delivery Program, safety tips for the end of Daylight Saving Time, and details about a new State seatbelt law.
On October 19, 2020, the TLC convened for an online Commission Meeting, the first of its kind. We were glad to have had the opportunity to hold the meeting and thank all attendees.
At the meeting, the Commission approved Base License applications and received feedback on proposed rules under consideration that would allow the TLC to pursue the following:
● Increase the number of wheelchair accessible taxis on the road by broadening the pool of vehicles eligible to receive money from the Taxi Improvement Fund (TIF), and decreasing the financial obstacles to increasing the number of accessible taxis on the road.
● Make technical changes to align out-of-date rules with Local Law 151 which the City Council passed in 2018, that changed the penalty amounts for illegal street hails within Manhattan’s Hail Exclusionary Zone. Stiff penalties for illegal street hails in the hail exclusionary zone ($500 for 1st offense, $750 for 2nd offense and license revocation for 3rd offense) and daily dedicated Enforcement would remain.
● Extend the notification period and clarify what issues may be addressed and what Administrative Law Judges should consider when assessing a Licensee’s public safety risk. Ultimately, this would provide Licensees a fairer process pending the outcome of an arrest.
NEW COUNCIL LEGISLATION
The City Council passed TLC-related bills on October 15. The new legislation would:
● Require an annual financial disclosure from anyone who has an interest in a taxicab medallion license, as well as codify into law that the TLC will evaluate the character and integrity of brokers, agents, and medallion licensees, which our agency currently performs.
● Establish an office to monitor and evaluate the financial stability of the taxi industry. The office will consider factors such as the number of bankruptcies involving medallions, the income and expenses involved in operating a taxicab, and the terms and conditions of loans used to finance medallion purchases.
On October 19, TLC Driver Education Schools and PSI Exam Centers reopened. TLC Driver License Applicants can once again complete the 24-hour Driver Education Course, the TLC Driver License Exam, and the Passenger Assistance and Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle Training Course. Applicants are receiving extra time to complete their application requirements since schools and test centers are operating at reduced capacity due to the pandemic. TLC’s Driver Education Team has inspected the school locations and test centers to ensure that they are operating at 50% capacity, that PPE has been given to staff and applicants, that desks are spaced six feet apart, and that there is public health signage throughout their facilities. Schools and exam centers are critical for TLC-licensed businesses that want to work with new drivers, and they must be done safely.
The TLC Food Delivery program ended on October 23. TLC extends its gratitude for the hard work, enthusiasm, and diligence of participating TLC Drivers. Over 10,000 TLC Drivers participated, using their Taxis, Black Cars, Livery Cars, and personal cars to deliver meals. Sixty-five million meals were delivered across all five boroughs, and TLC-Licensed Drivers earned closed to $40 million between March and October, when there were fewer income opportunities in NYC. Drivers delivered meals to 720,000 households, reaching 1.3 million New Yorkers.
Food vulnerable New Yorkers will still be able to obtain emergency food through GetFoodNYC and Grab & Go locations around the City and various food programs for Senior Citizens.
THE END OF DAYLIGHT-SAVING TIME AND DRIVING SAFELY
On November 1, Daylight Saving Time ends and clocks will “fall back.” We ask TLC-Licensed Drivers to take extra care during the darker morning and evening commutes, to please make turns slowly at 5 miles per hour, and to please always obey the citywide speed limit of 25 mph. Slower speeds save lives and we want everyone to arrive at work and home safely.
NEW SEAT BELT LAW
Senate Bill 7134 and Assembly Bill 8990 were passed by the New York State legislature and signed into law by the Governor in early 2020 and go into effect November 1, 2020.
The new State laws apply to trips in all TLC-licensed vehicles as well as all personal cars. The penalty for a seat belt violation is a State fine of up to $50 and up to $100 and three points for the driver’s DMV license if a child under 16 is not properly buckled.
The law puts the responsibility on adult passengers to buckle up and to ensure fellow passengers under 16 are buckled up. Passengers, not Drivers, will receive a summons if they are not buckled up. The only time a Driver should receive a summons is if drivers themselves are not buckled up or if a passenger under 16 is not buckled up and there is no other passenger 16 years or older inside the vehicle.
The TLC is reminding passengers hailing a ride in TLC vehicles to make sure they follow the new requirement and buckle up. Seat belts save lives and can prevent serious injuries in car crashes. Everybody. Every Seat.
Aloysee Heredia Jarmoszuk
Commissioner and Chair
NYC Taxi and Limousine Commission
33 Beaver Street, 22nd Floor, New York, NY 10004