I am very pleased to report that, by the time you read this, there will be over 100 Street Hail Livery (SHL) vehicles on the road, quite actively hacking up a storm. On the day the first three SHLs took flight, more than half of their fares were hails, which fulfills every projection we’ve had about demand over the two years since Mayor Bloomberg articulated his vision of taxi service for the boroughs. Over 1,800 permits have been issued, with their owners’ vehicles in various stages of readiness before their final TLC inspections, so they should be a commonplace sight before long. Of course, as I said above, this day has been a long time in coming and is a testament to the tenacity and passion of many in the livery industry who saw this opportunity for what it was and never lost sight of the goal.
Commissioner David Yassky congratulates new proud SHL owner/operators Wilfredo Reynoso and Wilfredo Alvarez
As everyone who has been following the long and winding road to SHL implementation knows, enforcement has always been a key element of the plan. The TLC has, of course, kept all its promises with regard to beefing up its enforcement division, more than doubling our capacity to take illegal poachers off the road. We’ve also seen the fruits of our new contract with a leading towing company, which has not only freed our Inspectors to be more productive in the field, but it has also given us all of room we need to safeguard seized straight plate illegals AND auctioning many of them off as a disincentive to the poachers who have been stealing business from our legitimate licensees.
So, all of that having been said, now that we’re seeing more SHLs join the pioneering first group (pictured) every single day, it’s important for us to move to the next level of protecting our licensees by enforcing against all forms of illegal livery activity. With a legal option now readily available, we can “pave a smoother road” for them by making sure those with an unfair advantage are removed from the equation. Since the first batch of SHLs have hit the streets, I have seen and heard a number of interviews with both Boro Taxi and car service drivers where they express great confidence that the TLC will be there to nip illegal activity in the bud now that there’s a clear (or rather green!) path to safe, legal livery hailing, and we don’t intend to let them down.
So, congratulations to all those who have applied for or have already received their SHL permits, as well as to those who have made the bold decision to join these pioneers. Each and every one of you has the TLC’s pledge that we will be out there, almost 24/7, to support your business opportunities, and those of all our licensees, whether you drive a Boro Taxi, a traditional livery, or a yellow taxicab. You’re the ones who did it right, and we’ve got your back! Talk to you next month!