New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission’s (TLC’s) Office of Inclusion has launched a new citywide public awareness campaign to combat illegal service refusals in Taxis, For-Hire Vehicles (FHVs) and High-Volume FHVs. The campaign includes 10 ads that feature black passengers and encourage the public to report illegal service refusals due to discrimination by calling 311, using the 311 app or visiting the 311 website.
The public awareness campaign is spearheaded by the TLC’s Office of Inclusion, which launched last year to ensure that the riding public receives equal and courteous service from FHV and Taxi drivers. With support from City Council, the Office of Inclusion’s mission is to end service refusals and ensure that both drivers and passengers know that everyone in New York City has the right to a ride.
The Inclusion campaign is running in subways, outer-borough buses, ferries, newspapers, and social media. Advertisements are also running at LaGuardia Airport, Terminal B, and JFK Airport, Terminal 2.
It is illegal for a TLC-licensed driver to refuse service because of a passenger’s race, ethnicity, cultural background, disability, sexual orientation, or other characteristics of a person’s background or identity. All passengers have the right to travel with a service animal, and be driven to any destination in NYC, Westchester County, Nassau County or Newark Airport.
In 2019, the TLC’s Consumer Complaint Unit received 2,748 complaints about service refusals. Although service refusals are often associated with the Taxi industry, the TLC increasingly receives reports from passengers about refusals from drivers who work for app companies like Uber and Lyft and investigated 669 FHV refusal complaints last year.
“Transportation is a fundamental right for all New Yorkers, especially when it’s provided by someone professionally licensed by our city to provide this service,” said incoming TLC Commissioner and Chair Aloysee Heredia Jarmoszuk. “Bias and bigotry resulting in service refusal to People of Color, People with Disabilities, or the LGBTQ community cuts to the very heart of New York City’s welcoming embrace of all kinds of people. This campaign reinforces the simple truth that bigotry is unacceptable while encouraging riders to report it as soon as it happens so we can take action.”