Those who have read this column over the years know that I have used the words "it has been a busy month for the TLC" many times before. Regardless of how many times I have used that opening line, it has been true, but never more so than this month!
"What's cooking," as they say? Well, there's PlaNYC, from which sprang the acceleration of the hybrid vehicle initiative (with the for-hire vehicle side of the coin on our planning boards). I will update that initiative as often as possible, though the first milestone dates are some time away. Speaking of milestones, however, we have reached a milestone on the taxicab technology enhancement program with the approval of all four vendors. Now that we have reached this goal, and considering the magic dates of August 1 (by which owners must sign contracts) and October 1 (beginning of the four-month cycle during which vehicles must be equipped), our outreach efforts have gone into overdrive, compared even to the aggressive timetable we had been keeping up to this point.
As I write this column, we have just come off a highly successful vendor expo event at our Woodside Safety and Emissions facility, at which I estimate almost 1,000 people came out on a hot day to ask questions, get answers, and make educated decisions about which companies they wanted to contract with and which deals were best for them. I myself spoke with almost 100 of those who participated in the expo, listening to their concerns, sometimes debating, but mostly explaining the reasons why this will be an excellent evolutionary step for the taxicab industry.
One of the things that surprised me was how much misinformation still persists even after all of the outreach the TLC has done. For example, I spoke to several people who actually thought that the TLC would be deactivating taximeters for anyone working more than 12 hours! This, of course, is not in the least bit true. So, not only was the Expo the very best opportunity for people to see, feel and touch the systems that they will soon be using as one of their customer service tools, but they had one-stop shopping for both technology systems and the truth about how the systems will be used!
I am pleased to report that the Expo proved SO successful that we have scheduled another for Tuesday, July 10, from 2 to 6 p.m. also at the TLC's Woodside facility (24-55 BQE West, Woodside, NY 11377). Please RSVP if possible at 212-341-3892 or by e-mail at TLCTECHENHANCE@TLC.NYC.GOV.
Before I wrap this "interim" update of my Commissioner's Corner, I do want to remind everyone that the all-time, absolute BEST WAY to get updates on the new technology and its implementation is by visiting the TLC website (http://www.nyc.gov/html/tlc/html/industry/taxicab_serv_enh.shtml) and signing up for "official e-mail updates" by clicking on those very words on the upper right hand of the TLC homepage at www.nyc.gov/taxi.
Commissioner Daus talks tech with an interested medallion owner.
Almost 1,000 participated in the TLC's Technology Vendor Expo.
Another event is set for July 10.