At a New York City Council meeting on Oct. 15, three bills were approved to help bring relief to taxi drivers and medallion holders experiencing hardship from debt by fighting off predatory lending. The taxi industry was struggling before the pandemic, and COVID-19 has hit medallion prices even harder, further reducing their values as rides and profits have fallen.

As part of the package, City Council will be creating an Office of Financial Stability within the Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC), which will evaluate the industry and provide oversight of income and expenses for medallion owners, medallion loan terms, and market manipulation.

“We cannot afford to have the TLC auction off medallions at speculative prices or approve medallion transfers with speculative loans,” the bill’s sponsor, Councilman Richie Torres said. “This bill will create a new office that will have the statutory obligation to oversee and regulate the financial stability of the medallion market.”

Int. No. 1584-A would require those applying for a taxi license to disclose financial reports on income and any loans secured, as well as any other interests the person filing the disclosure has in any taxi, livery, or for-hire vehicle business.

Another bill, introduced by Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez, would require the TLC to take into account the character, honesty, and integrity of brokers, agents, and licensees when they either submit for a new license or renew an old one. The TLC could, in the future, reject an application if the individual is found to lack these qualities upon taking into account any prior fraudulent, deceitful or unlawful acts while engaged with the commission in the course of obtaining a license.

The bills are set to go into effect 180 days after being signed into law by the Mayor.

Source: am New York