Archives of the Mayor's Press Office

Date: Thursday, February 22, 2001

Release # 052-01

Contact: Sunny Mindel/Curt Ritter

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Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani and Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) Chairperson Diane McGrath-McKechnie today unveiled the fifth and latest rotation of celebrity voices for the TLC's Celebrity Talking Taxi Program. The Mayor and Chairperson were joined by several of the new celebrities, including Sesame Street's Elmo, Olympic swimming Gold Medallist Dara Torres, the Radio City Rockettes; and New York Road Runners Club President Alan Steinfeld at today's ceremony at City Hall.

The TLC's Celebrity Talking Taxi Program, which incorporates each of the City's 12,187 taxicabs, encourages taxi riders to buckle their seat belts for safety at the beginning of each ride, as well as to take their belongings and get a receipt from their driver at the ride's conclusion. This latest rotation of celebrity messages will also include the voices of New York Yankee Paul O'Neill, opera star Roberta Peters, "Let's Get Ready to Rumble!" announcer Michael Buffer, and former Supreme Mary Wilson.

"This is a great program, which, thanks to many celebrities past and present, provides riders with important information when they enter and leave a taxi," said Mayor Giuliani. "We've had some terrific celebrity voices in our taxicabs over the last few years, and I am pleased to welcome these new celebrities here today to the program. I urge all taxicab passengers to listen to what they have to say, and take a moment to buckle up for safety and get a receipt from their driver."

TLC Chairperson Diane McGrath-McKechnie said, "Where else but in New York City can taxicab passengers get a chauffeured ride through the Capital of the World, and have a celebrity encounter all at the same time. This is an important safety program that encourages people to do the smart thing, and buckle up for safety. We hope they continue to enjoy listening to the messages, but more importantly, we hope they will continue to be persuaded by them."

The Celebrity Talking Taxi Program began in August 1997 with the voices of Dr. Ruth Westheimer, Joe Torre Jackie Mason, Eartha Kitt, Placido Domingo, Judd Hirsch and Joan Rivers. This latest rotation will, by March 19, replace the voices of world famous cellist Yo-Yo Ma, TV Judges Judy and Jerry Sheindlin, Broadway star Bernadette Peters, comedian Chris Rock, commentator Charles Osgood, "Mr. New Year's Eve" Dick Clark, talk show host Montel Williams, and basketball legend Walt "Clyde" Frazier. This fifth rotation of voices will bring to 38 the number of celebrities who have volunteered their talents to enhance the safety of taxicab passengers, and urge riders to remember their belongings and get a receipt from their driver.

Other rotations have included the voices of designer Nicole Miller, star quarterback Vinny Testaverde, "Mr. Nostalgia" Joe Franklin, Dennis Franz in character as Detective Andy Sipowicz, Oscar winner Isaac Hayes, opera superstar Beverly Sills, comedian Al Franken, "classic Batman" Adam West, actor Paul Sorvino, CBS-FM disc jockey Dan Ingram, hockey Hall of Famer Rod Gilbert, gossip maven Cindy Adams, talk show host Sally Jesse Raphael, and Mr. MovieFone.

If taxicab passengers wish to report lost property, or have comments or complaints, they may call the TLC's 24--hour consumer hotline at 212-NYC-TAXI, or visit its web page at

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