- Greetings, all! I would like to start off this column by crowing a bit about a milestone we at the TLC recently noted – our 400th Vision Zero base visit since our program began back in 2014. Outreach to drivers, taxi fleets, and car services is a cornerstone of the TLC’s work in Vision Zero, the City’s plan to end traffic fatalities. It is so important to the success of Vision Zero that drivers and the base operators with whom they come in contact every day equally understand the critical importance of safe driving practices. What exactly is a Vision Zero base visit? Presentations on the goals of Vision Zero, safe driving trips, and information on new street designs are made by a specially-trained unit of TLC staffers, who then answer questions and invite drivers to sign a TLC Safe Driver Pledge. The pledge includes a commitment for TLC driver licensees to follow the speed limit, truly focus on driving, pull over to use electronics, and to drive in each community like their children live there. Many presentations are made in both English and Spanish to communicate effectively with more drivers. I am particularly proud of this milestone because it has inspired a fair number of drivers to individually tell me how the program has changed their personal driving habits, and how much they appreciated our concern for their wellbeing. Thanks to all members of the industry who have welcomed TLC staff into their businesses for these visits!
Boro Taxis have a distinct apple-green color.
- During our first commission meeting this year, the TLC approved the expansion of grant amounts for accessible Street Hail Livery (green taxi) owners. The increase follows three years of research and feedback from the industry. Grant amounts have doubled from $15,000 to $30,000. This includes an initial grant of $14,000 once a cab is hacked-up. During the four years following the initial grant, vehicle owners receive additional grants of $2,000 to help with ongoing vehicle maintenance following each successful inspection twice a year-- a total of $16,000. We appreciate all that accessible Street Hail Livery owners do in making our city more accessible to riders, as well as expanding metered service in upper Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, the Bronx and Staten Island.
- As everyone reading this is likely very well aware, the flow of traffic at LaGuardia Airport has been significantly impacted by a multi-billion dollar program to redevelop the airport. Construction has required the closure of several parking lots, including Lots 5 and 7, which were used for staging by for-hire vehicles. The Port Authority of NY and NJ has now designated the Marina Parking Lot (located on the northeastern side of the Grand Central Parkway, across from Citi Field for staging by black and livery cars, as well as limousines. The current yellow taxi hold lots will remain open, and those drivers should continue to use them. To stay up to date on any traffic changes from the construction, we recommend your checking the Port Authority’s website and social media channels. The TLC will also continue to share any new information on this situation as we receive it.
Checking Your Application Status Online Now More Convenient
- In keeping with our ongoing efforts to bring more functionality and convenience to the TLC’s website, we recently added two new features to the New Driver Application Status Report, which lists the status of driver license applications online. You can now use the online report (www.nyc.gov/newdriverlookup) to confirm whether your fingerprints or a copy of your DMV license have been added to your application, or whether these or other items remain outstanding. The online status report has been a very popular way for applicants to keep track of their application’s status, and these new changes will make it even more convenient to use.
- As I write this column mid-January, winter has been relatively mild thus far. However, chances are good that February and early March still have some surprises in store for us. I just wanted to take a quick moment to remind drivers to stay prepared for the winter that’s yet to come: make sure your vehicles are properly maintained for winter weather and keep an eye on your email, phone, and TLC social media channels for City information and instructions on how to respond to severe weather. Let’s all hope that Staten Island Chuck has a nice shadow-free Groundhog Day!
Until next time……drive like your family lives here!
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