As always, the summer is typically as busy a period as any other for the TLC as well as the industries we regulate, and summer 2009 is no exception.
New FHV Accountability Regulations
For one thing, we are all gearing up for the new For-Hire Vehicle industry regulations we have been discussing for so many months. Some of the regulations have already gone into effect as of July 2, including the extension of base licenses for three years, base markings on livery vehicles and interior markings (including the display of license credentials in all for-hire vehicles). On August 1, a penalty point system goes into effect for all for-hire vehicles that will greatly enhance the industry’s accountability, and raise the riding public’s confidence in the for-hire industry. On September 1, all black car and livery vehicles will have two new TLC decals on their rear quarter windows, which will help passengers to distinguish licensed, legitimate providers from illegal hustlers – good for passenger safety, and equally good for the industry. New for-hire vehicles will also be reporting to the TLC’s Safety & Emissions facility for their DMV/TLC inspections, ensuring that when they roll off the lanes, they are the safest vehicles on the road. Following a few months later on February 1, 2010, all renewing for-hire vehicles must report to the TLC Safety & Emissions facility for their DMV/TLC inspections, which will truly make New York City’s the finest and safest for-hire fleet in the world.
Although these regulations and the aforementioned dates are and will be in full effect and could be enforced at any time, we will continue our extensive outreach with the industry to encourage and facilitate voluntary compliance as a first resort. We will continue to work closely with the industry as we have done over the past year in drafting these new regulations. Also, we will soon be enhancing our outreach efforts by distributing brochures in multiple languages (English, Spanish, French, and Russian) which are customized to educate licensees, bases, vehicle owners and drivers; as well as the riding public, about what they need to know about the new regulations. This was achieved by utilizing our language bank (multi-lingual volunteers), and is the first time the TLC has translated informational materials in languages other than Spanish. This resource has provided us with the ability to meet the demands of our culturally diverse community, and to break any language barriers that may have previously existed.
IATR International Taxi Regulator Conference coming to NYC from Sept. 13-16
International Driver Recognition Ceremony at Brooklyn Marriott – September 16th
The summer is also quite busy for the TLC in gearing up for the eagerly-anticipated International Association of Transportation Regulators’ (IATR) New York City conference. This is the first time this group of for-hire government transportation regulators from around the world will be visiting NYC, and I also have the honor of being named its next President. The theme of this year’s conference is appropriately centered on technology – which has been the hallmark of the Bloomberg Administration’s efforts. Also, the conference will provide the forum for our annual TLC celebration honoring and recognizing drivers. Over the years, we have honored more than 1,000 drivers for heroic, humanitarian and other exemplary actions. On September 16th, in honor of the IATR’s New York conference, we will be honoring national and international drivers along with NYC’s own best of the best!
Passing the Torch at TLC’s Safety & Emissions Facility
Sadly for us at the TLC, this month we say farewell to our Assistant Commissioner for Safety and Emissions (S&E), Peter Schenkman, after four and one-half years with our agency. We are grateful for Peter’s hard work in streamlining operations at S&E, as well as his contributions to Taxi 07, the Taxi of Tomorrow program, implementation of the hybrid taxicab program, and for enhancing transportation for people with disabilities. Peter will pass the torch to S&E Chief of Operations, Martin Grindley, who will ensure a smooth transition as they gear up for FHV inspections this Fall. Martin has 20 years of experience at the TLC, and I have every confidence that he will be able to continue the great work that Peter started. Peter and Martin, working together, were able to implement many administrative efficiencies and positive changes over the last few years, including a reduction in the waiting time for inspections from 2 hours to 20 minutes over the past four years. They both have helped to make our NYC taxicabs safer and cleaner, and we wish both of them the best in their new roles.
Until next time………