As readers of this column know, the TLC has had some banner months over the past few years, but I have to say in all honesty that few, if any of them have been as busy and productive as this past month.
For one thing, since we last caught up, we successfully issued the last of the 6,000 Street Hail Livery permits available for the first issuance period. This includes 1,200 permits for use on wheelchair accessible vehicles.
So far, there are a total of 1,330 on the road as of this moment (43 of them wheelchair accessible), serving communities throughout the city, and clearly filling a gap in service that the public hungered to see filled. Here’s a map, showing a representative sample of yellow taxi pickups, 97% of which are in Manhattan, along with Boro Taxi street hail pickups since the program began in August. The demand for street hail service in northern Manhattan and the boroughs outside of Manhattan are there for everyone to see..
I was privileged to have appeared in at CineMagic Studios in Brooklyn with Mayor Bloomberg last week to celebrate the milestone of 1000+ Street Hail Liveries (SHLs) in service, alongside a very merry group of industry leaders and drivers who very proudly showcased their vehicles for us. Of course there’s much more work to be done, and I don’t expect the remaining SHLs to hit the road before March of next year, hitting this milestone was a victory of vision and will that by all rights should be represented in public administration students’ textbooks as the way to match supply with demand, and balance the needs of everyone involved.
Commissioner Yassky thanks TLC staff for making the Boro Taxi milestone possible in a scant 150 days. From left to right are Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities Commissioner Victor Calise, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, TLC Commissioner David Yassky, Livery Base Owners Association President Cira Angeles, and Assemblyman Joseph Lentol.
One of the real highlights of the event was when our very first permit holder, Nancy Sorya (pictured with the Mayor, below), who attended with her 10-year-old son Matthew (also pictured), transported Mayor Bloomberg to his next appointment in her Boro Taxi. (Yes, I have it on good authority that the mayor is a generous tipper!)
Left to right, first SHL permit holder Nancy Sorya and son Matthew share a chat with Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg.
If that wasn’t enough to round out the month, we auctioned the first of 200 of what will ultimately be the issuance of 2,000 brand, spanking new New York City taxicab medallions last week. This first batch contained 100 pairs of two Mini-Fleet (Corporate) medallions strictly for use on wheelchair accessible vehicles. While it had been almost six years since there had been any City-issued medallions on the auction block, it was once again crystal clear that the taxicab industry remains strong and vital, and a living, breathing vote of confidence in the future of New York City. Here are the results:
Highest Winning Bid $2,518,000.00
Lowest Winning Bid $2,050,000.00
Average Winning Bid $2,267,390.12
Total No. of Bids Received 245
Number of “Valid” Bids 235
Number of “Below Bid” Bids 135
No. of “Incomplete” Bids 10
Some seriously focused TLC staffers scrutinize bids on auction day.
I should also mention that, in this month, we have seen the voluntary hack-up of 12 NV200 Taxis of Tomorrow. While we wait for what I hope and believe will be a successful appeal of the recent court decision, the NV200 is picking up (literally!) more and more fans by the day. As we predicted, the NV200’s amenities are winning over more and more owners, while those driving them today report that they are winning over more and more passengers…..good news for everyone.
Before I sign off, I just wanted to echo some sentiments from Mayor Bloomberg, who is so very famously fond of referring to his countdown clock. As the Mayor has said, both he and his administration are committed to a smooth, efficient transition to the new mayoral administration, and he is pleased and proud to be handing off a city that is stronger and better today than it was when he started. As I write these words, that countdown clock is at 40 days and counting, and I, too, am thinking of how our efforts, in concert with our regulated industries, have resulted in better service to the riding public and our customers alike. I have been blessed with some great industry partners, as well as a spectacular team of professionals to work alongside. From the credit card systems that helped the taxi industry weather the economic downturn to the web improvements that let our licensees spend less time at our facilities and more time earning, to the crises we overcame with both creativity and elbow grease (not to mention the myriad accomplishments in-between), I am justifiably proud of what the TLC has achieved over the course of the Bloomberg Administration…..achievements that will reverberate for many years to come.
To everyone reading this, I wish you and your families a happy, healthy and most joyous holiday season!