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Commissioner’s Corner

September 2015

Commissioner’s Corner

By Meera Joshi

Hello, everyone… I hope you have been enjoying your summer thus far and have been able to fit some rest and relaxation into your busy schedules.  There is no rest here at the TLC so let’s get into what we’ve been up to since last time.

The TLC, in partnership with the New York City Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications (DOITT), on August 1, 2015, released millions of trip records from both Yellow Medallion and Green (Street Hail Livery) Cabs which are now accessible to the public online. This innovative step to make trip record data available through an open platform gives any interested individual instant access to taxi trip records, which previously were only available through submission of a formal Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) request.  Everyone will now also be able to easily query, tabulate, and download extracts of the data using Google's BigQuery tools.

The TLC began collecting trip record data back in 2009 and we have shared it with the public on a per-request basis and often, because the dataset is so large, it required physical transfer – meaning the requestor would have to physically come to the TLC with an external  hard drive.  By making the data available online, academics, data specialists, and the public can gain insight into how both yellow taxis and green cabs serve our city.  

The initial data launch includes records for all completed yellow taxi and green cab trips between January 1, 2014 and June 30, 2015. The TLC and DOITT currently plan to upload new trip record data sets every six months moving forward. Trip data prior to January 2014 will be available in the coming weeks, including yellow taxi trip data going back to January 2009 (when yellow taxi digital trip record collection began) and green taxi trip data back to August 2013 (when green cabs began operating). The data sets include fields capturing each trip’s pick-up and drop-off date/time, pick-up and drop-off location, distance, itemized fare, rate type, payment type, and driver reported passenger count.
To learn more about the three different ways this data can be downloaded, please visit: www.nyc.gov/tlcresearch.

I am happy to note that we are well into the processing of the For-Hire Vehicle trip data that we began collecting some months ago.  While it’s been a herculean challenge to standardize and verify the accuracy of this huge mountain of information, our technology team continues to do an amazing job with it.  While there’s still much to do, I want to share my optimism with you that we will see at least some of the fruits of this labor very soon so that FHV data will be readily available alongside the even bigger mountain of yellow medallion taxi data already available online.

The City is thrilled to make this data available to all interested New Yorkers, knowing that the public can add new insight into taxi service in NYC.  We encourage you to share any of your findings with us at research@tlc.nyc.gov!

I’m pleased to announce that the Port Authority, after contacting us about their concerns over increased congestion at the terminals, has established a designated parking lot at LaGuardia Airport, where for-hire vehicles can wait for their arriving passengers, free of charge.  This new parking area, Lot 7, has been created to allow TLC-licensed drivers to comply with Rule §55-19(c) of the newly-passed Dispatch Service Provider rules, which prohibits drivers from accepting dispatches while parked in passenger pick-up locations at the airports.

Lot 7 at LGA is now available to all TLC-licensed FHV drivers in order to provide them with space to park for up to 90 minutes free of charge. However, if you stay in the lot for more than 90 minutes, the lot’s regular daily parking fees will be applied. The cost for parking more than 90 minutes is $16.00 plus $4.00 for each additional half hour. Drivers who have stayed in the lot for more than 90 minutes can pay the parking fee as they exit in cash, credit card or with E-ZPass.
Lot 7 is located near the Marine Air Terminal across from the Shell gas station, as indicated on the map below:

Lastly, before I sign-off for this month, I would like to let all licensees know that we have approved the third participant in the Vehicle Safety Technology (VST) Pilot: Datatrack247. The VST pilot program is an exciting Vision Zero initiative that will test and evaluate the efficacy of black boxes, anti-speeding technologies, driver alert systems, and related analytic software, in promoting safe driving of TLC-licensed vehicles. The pilot program began on April 7, 2015 and will last a full year.  We will continue to accept applications for those who wish to provide technology for the pilot throughout the Pilot’s duration.

Industry members, including agents, fleets, bases, taxi, street-hail livery, commuter van and FHV owners, who may be interested in participating in the pilot program using Datatrack247’s technology should reach out to Datatrack247 at (917) 337-6166, effie@datatrack247.com, or for more information, visit http://www.datatrack247.com.

To learn more about the VST pilot, please visit the Vehicle Safety Technology Pilot webpage: www.nyc.gov/tlc/html/industry/veh_safety_tech_pilot_program.shtml

That’s all for this month, so until next time, stay cool and drive like your family lives here!

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