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August 2007

At the time of my writing this column, I am pleased to say that the industry’s response to the customer service technology program is nothing short of spectacular.  So much so that there are probably less than 100 taxicab owners across the city that have not yet chosen and contracted with one of the four approved vendors.  That is 99% compliance!

We also have about 1,000 technology equipped cabs on the road already, which I do not mind telling you have already inspired some truly gratifying feedback.  Let just share one testimonial with you, from a gentleman visiting from Portland Oregon……

Dear Sir:
I am writing to compliment the work you, the commission, and all NYC cabbies have done over the past few years to clean up the operation of cabs in NYC. I recently visited NYC for the first time in several years. As a former resident, I was impressed with the cleanliness, politeness, and professionalism of all the cabbies I rode for several days. I especially liked the new GPS equipment that allows me to track where I'm going, pay by credit card, etc. I encourage you to proceed with
the plan to install this equipment on all cabs, it will be a great benefit to all taxi customers in NYC. Thank you.

While I cannot say that such appreciate surprises me, I do have to say that it was a bit of a revelation to see someone so inspired by the new technology, as well as the overall level of service he received in a New York City taxicab, that he was moved to write us!  I think the message to take away from this is that yours and our efforts have meaning, and are appreciated by the public we all serve.

On another subject, while it is true that the media coverage of the latest press conference held by the Taxi Workers Alliance was more modest (many reporters had already written about the group’s concerns a number of times) than it had been in the past, it had a new element this past week when the word “strike” was brought into play.

As both a responsible and responsive regulator, it is very disheartening to hear that even one modest group of taxi drivers would consider such a drastic and negative action, especially when the subject of their protest will benefit them as much as it will the public, and when two fare increases have been granted to improve the lives of these selfsame drivers.

I am grateful that the vast majority of the drivers I have spoken with have no intention of participating in any such activity, and will continue to be on the job, doing what they do best.  I am equally grateful to all those industry leaders who have communicated their disappointment, as well as the disappointment of their members, that the “S” word has even been uttered.  At a time when so much work has been accomplished – together – to make this the safest, most financially successful and best equipped taxicab industry in the world, what we need is to keep up the good work…..not slide back to the days when certain divisive influences tried to turn the wheels of progress into a flat tire!

Until next time… …stay cool and keep up the fantastic work!


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