As most For-Hire Vehicle (FHV) owners are aware, in 2020, the New York City Taxi & Limousine Commission (TLC) created a For-Hire Vehicle (FHV) License Storage Program to give relief to vehicle license holders who could not afford to maintain their vehicles during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The TLC plate storage option allowed drivers and fleets who were not actively using their FHVs to temporarily “store” their FHV licenses during the pandemic as a way to keep their FHV license active while saving money on expensive commercial vehicle insurance and other costs associated with ownership of an FHV.

The current FHV License Storage Program ends August 31, 2023. Drivers who placed their TLC licenses in storage needed to remove them by that date, or they were told they would lose their licenses. Individual owners whose TLC license was registered under a personal name had a slightly different process than corporate owners, but the gist was that FHV owners had to obtain an updated certificate of insurance from their broker or insurance carrier, complete an FHV Transfer Form, submit it to the TLC and then obtain a plate transfer to receive TLC license plates.

I believe the TLC was fair in creating this program and being generous in allowing it to continue for as long as it did. Now the TLC is going one step further to benefit FHV owners by creating a new rule that establishes a Short-Term FHV Storage Program. A public hearing was scheduled for this issue on August 31.

This new program permits active FHV licensees to put their license in storage once during every two-year license term, for up to 60 days. This program will be helpful to FHV owners who may be taking a prolonged period of time off and/or traveling overseas for an extended period or who may be experiencing vehicle issues. An application must be filed for an FHV license to be placed into storage with the TLC.

The proposed rule clarifies that FHV licenses remaining in the Covid-era FHV License Storage Program after the program end date of August 31, will not automatically transfer over to the new Short-Term FHV Storage Program. Any FHV licensee who does not remove their FHV from storage before August 31 will be subject to fines and suspension for failure to follow directives to exit the storage program, as well as revocation of the license for non-use.

The TLC should permit FHV owners to put their licenses in storage for up to 60 days one time per year, as opposed to one time every two years. This would be in line with a FHV owner who wants to take a trip or extended vacation one time per year. While some FHV owners may not take a vacation or a trip back to their country of origin every year, it would be nice to see FHV owners have that option. If there are added costs associated with allowing this to be done once per year as opposed to once every two years, then there is no reason that the TLC can’t pass such costs along to FHV owners.

As I write this, many people believe public hearings held by the TLC are a mere formality to enable proposed rules to be rubber-stamped. I don’t look at it this way. In our form of government, if one’s right is going to be infringed upon, then they have the right to what is called due process. This means you have the right to notice (of the hearing) and an opportunity to be heard on the issue. This is an important right. If you feel strongly for or against this proposed rule regarding the new FHV Storage Program or any proposed rule for that matter, you must be willing to speak up in favor or against it. It is a way for the government to tell you, “Speak now or forever hold your peace.”

I often speak at public TLC hearings. As a lawyer, I have plenty of opinions on TLC’s rules, but as an advocate, I am there to advance the interests of my client(s). You don’t necessarily need someone to represent your interests at a TLC meeting. You can appear and state your thoughts. The Chair and Commissioners are there and willing to hear what you have to say. In fact, there are numerous ways to get your thoughts and opinions on a proposed TLC rule. Not only can you appear via Zoom, but you can also email your comments to the TLC – generally by e-mailing or calling 212-676-1135. After you sign up to speak, the TLC will provide you with a Zoom URL to enter in on your computer or dial-in via phone if you prefer to call in. You can also email comments and opinions by sending an email or letter to

In our form of democracy, citizens play the starring role. Those involved in the FHV industry are empowered to let their voices be heard and weigh in on how the industry is governed. Deliberation is the process of thoughtfully weighing options prior to the TLC voting on an issue. Deliberation emphasizes the use of logic and reason as opposed to mere power. Most, if not all regulatory decisions involve competing values about what is good for the industry, and your opinion does matter.

In this day in age, if you are involved in a complex industry like ours, then you should make your voice heard. You can only effectuate change for the better if you get involved in the process. Don’t take the path of always letting others speak for you. Get up and speak your mind. There is no right or wrong. It’s your opinion, and you are entitled to it.

I always encourage people to attend TLC hearings. They often yield helpful information, and we get to hear from other parties interested in our industry. Perhaps even more importantly, I urge everyone to get involved in a trade organization that is looking out for your best interests – whether it be the Livery Round Table, the Livery Base Owners, the Black Car Assistance Corp., the National Limousine Association, The Transportation Alliance, or others.

There are others out there who share some of your thoughts and opinions. There are also people out there in the FHV industry who can lend a helping hand, when needed. Base owners, FHV owners, and operators should look at others in the industry as colleagues, rather than competitors. Good owners and operators work together for the common good. There is always room for improvement in our industry, but it all starts with YOU. If you want information on how to get involved, feel free to contact me; my door is always open. As always, I am here to support and defend the FHV industry so we can all survive and thrive well into the future.

Article by Steven J. Shanker, Esq.

Steven J. Shanker, Esq. is General Counsel to the Livery Roundtable, Inc. and the New York Independent Livery Driver Benefit Fund.

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