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News from DCA - Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Sunday, October 18, 2009

Elizabeth Miller, (212) 487-4283


DEPARTMENT OF CONSUMER AFFAIRS COMMISSIONER JONATHAN MINTZ REMINDS PEDICAB BUSINESSES THAT ONLY 30 DAYS REMAIN TO SUBMIT LICENSE APPLICATIONS

Only 10 Pedicab Businesses Have Applied for Licenses At the Halfway Mark of the 60-Day Licensing Period

Unlicensed Pedicab Businesses and Pedicab Drivers Cannot Legally Operate After November 20

  

Pedicab businesses only have 30 days left to submit a license application, the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Jonathan Mintz reminded the industry today. Pedicab business owners, and others seeking to start a business, must obtain a Pedicab Business license from DCA by submitting a complete license application no later than Friday, November 20. The law forbids the Department from accepting any applications after that date. Once a pedicab business submits a completed license application for up to a maximum of 30 pedicabs, DCA will schedule qualifying inspections of the business’ pedicabs to ensure each meets the City’s rigorous safety requirements, including proper brakes, lights, seatbelts and insurance. At the halfway point of the law’s 60-day application window, 10 pedicab businesses have submitted their license applications to the Department.

“November 20th is D-Day in the pedicab industry and time is running out,” said Consumer Affairs Commissioner Jonathan Mintz. “To the hundreds of pedicab businesses out there who don’t understand or take this legal deadline seriously, or to those waiting until the last minute, I strongly urge you to apply immediately. If you show up after November 20, DCA staff cannot by law accept your application. And if you wait until the last day to submit an application, you run the very real risk that your application may be rejected as incomplete or incorrect. Either way, you’ll be out of time and out of business. Period. In tough economic times like these, I hope no one takes such a bad risk with their livelihood.”

To assist the hundreds of pedicab businesses facing the City’s new license law requirements, the Department has continued its far-reaching outreach efforts to the pedicab industry including:

  • Ongoing update bulletins as the City Council moved toward passing the new licensing law, on both the Department’s Web site and through ongoing contact with association representatives;
  • Distribution of a detailed FAQ, explaining each step of the licensing process to business owners and drivers, as well as the Department’s license applications and all applicable regulations;
  • Making all materials available on the Department’s Web site, through 311 and at DCA’s Licensing Center;
  • Repeated offers from the Department to hold special sessions to walk prospective applicants through the filing process; and
  • Near-daily direct communications with the industry’s two business associations to express concern about the low volume of business applications, including a personal meeting convened by the Commissioner.

“Consumer Affairs will continue to urge the pedicab industry to seize this licensing opportunity before it’s too late, but it is very troubling that so few businesses have yet to submit their applications,” Commissioner Mintz added. “Licensing pedicabs will help ensure that every pedicab on the street has been inspected for safety, is insured, and is accountable to the public and the City. Given the significant safety component of pedicab licensing, neither this Department nor its enforcement partners at NYPD will tolerate operating outside of the law after November 20.”

Under the City’s pedicab law, which was signed in August, all pedicab businesses and drivers are now required to become licensed by DCA. While there is no deadline to submit Pedicab Driver applications, the new law stipulates that DCA can only accept pedicab businesses applications for a period of 60 calendar days, ending Friday, November 20. Pedicab business applicants must also present its registered pedicabs to the Department for safety inspections each year. Beginning on November 21, 2009, no pedicab business will be able to get a license to operate. In addition, after November 20, 2009, it will be illegal to operate a pedicab that does not have a DCA registration plate, nor may any pedicab be driven by a driver who does not have a DCA pedicab driver license.

Pedicab business and driver license applications can be downloaded on the DCA Web site at www.nyc.gov/consumers. Fully completed applications must be submitted in person at the DCA Licensing Center, located at 42 Broadway, 5th floor, in Manhattan. The hours of operation are Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. License application packets are also available at the DCA Licensing Center or by calling 311. Pedicab businesses and pedicab drivers can download the complete of application and inspection requirements, as well as copies of the license application forms, at www.nyc.gov/consumers.

For more information about the pedicab application process or inspection requirements, download DCA’s Frequently Asked Questions: Pedicab Business and Pedicab Driver Licenses or visit the DCA Web site to read sections of the New York City Licensing Law pertaining to pedicabs.

DCA enforces the Consumer Protection Law and other related business laws throughout New York City. Ensuring a fair and vibrant marketplace for consumers and businesses, DCA licenses more than 71,000 businesses in 57 different industries. Through targeted outreach, partnerships with community and trade organizations, and informational materials, DCA educates consumers and businesses alike about their rights and responsibilities. DCA’s Office of Financial Empowerment is the first municipal office of its kind in the nation with a mission to educate, empower and protect New Yorkers with low incomes. DCA’s OFE administers a citywide network of Financial Empowerment Centers and other products and services that help these New Yorkers make the best use of their financial resources to move forward economically. For more information, call 311 or visit DCA online at www.nyc.gov/consumers.