A friend of mine received a red-light camera summons. He paid it, pleaded guilty. Later, he received a summons in the mail from TLC for same violation: $300 + 3 points. I’ve never heard anyone getting a TLC summons for the same violation. What can he do? Isn’t this against his constitutional rights?

Taxi Solomon

Hi Solomon. Unfortunately, this goes on all the time and has been for several years now. TLC frequently issues a summons to a licensee who had previously paid a nonpoint red-light camera fine of $50 to the City. The TLC then gives 3 points and sometimes a $300 fine, too.

This is allowed because the City does not give you points for the ticket because they do not know who is driving the vehicle. The TLC gives 3 points because it knows that a specific licensee is driving the vehicle because they have to log in to the computer system in order to be able to drive for hire.

It is not double jeopardy because no criminal law punishment is involved, and although it does raise some due process concerns and it seems unfair, it is unfortunately legal.

The best a licensee can do is take a DMV defensive driver course to have the points removed from their TLC license. TLC gives a 3-point credit for the DMV defensive driver class.

Hope that helps Solomon.

Michael Spevack, Esq.

 

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Include Taxi Solomon photo

Business picking up a little bit. I believe this is due to less taxis on street, meaning less competition. This should be reviewed through GPS data that a cap on taxis is a must – 60K taxis on road is too much competition, hence less income to drivers.

Outdoor restaurants are causing major traffic concerns. It’s bad enough bus lanes and bike lanes have already narrowed the streets, now delivery trucks are parking in middle of 3rd Ave. If not for millions of people leaving NYC, traffic on 3rd Ave would be backed up from QBB to Houston St.

I think the taxi industry will be an up and down phase… meaning some good weeks, some bad, depending on whether riders trust going out. I have many passengers who say they’ll only take cabs if they feel comfortable with the virus infection rate. However, with that said, the majority are starting to go out, I think.

As a child, my parents told me stories of their childhood in the communist country Romania. Standing in line for bread, hardships during communism by ruler Ceausescu. The struggle my grandparents had making money even though they worked hard. I never thought this would reach the US – to give all my effort to a job I love to do, and to receive practically no income.

Things are hopefully getting better but driving around NYC is still surreal. Broadway is empty; millions used to gather. You could barely walk on the sidewalk, let alone drive through.

Restaurant building porches and eatery seating outside on the street, making side streets even more narrow. It’s like something out of a movie. Lines to enter stores, groceries, empty shelves out of necessities. Watching body bags filled with dead bodies thrown into trucks from a hospital is something I’ll never forget. Our next generation will ask, “Where were you during pandemic 2020?” Were you born during pandemic 2020 year?”

It’s taking a huge emotional and mental toll on people. No doubt there will be losses from PSTD and other mental issues. Passengers tell me how their 8-year-old child has difficulty because they want to be with their friends but can’t.

Maybe we’re past the difficult part, and as we now slowly open and business starts to increase, our lives are changed forever. An era in point of time… yellow taxi industry had 15K medallions on the street – now, maybe 4,000?

Riders had to endure using technology and apps instead of street hail. Will the yellow taxi industry survive this? Ehail apps will NOT work for yellows, not if we use third party providers. If drivers can use their own app, then yes. But I tried other taxi apps, and if yellows need to depend on them, this industry is finished. The algorithms they use are based on traffic and demand; the flat rate prices will indicate that. However, it doesn’t take in consideration a GARBAGE TRUCK blocking 82nd St between 1st and 2nd Aves. So that $10 flat rate for 3 miles is ridiculous. Drivers will lose major income.

How is a driver to accept a request for $10 from Manhattan to pick up in Brooklyn? Ehail isn’t practical for the yellow industry, I’ve tried it. Furthermore, in the event we face situations like the one we’re in, where fares are hard to come by, the good ones – for $50+ – go to whoever presses ACCEPT button fastest, not necessarily who’s closer. I hardly ever get those trips, and if I do, the passenger cancels on my way there. We then get a charge on top of trip amount. That isn’t what I signed up for when I decided to be a taxi driver.

My Dad is looking down from heaven… and I’m looking at him, remembering the cash-only days.

Taxi Solomon

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They put a bike lane on Crescent Street. Only one lane is for driving. Traffic towards Queensboro bring will be so much slower, and it will be difficult to pick up and drop off passengers – as well as loading and unloading for commercial vehicles.

Asad

 

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Years before the horrendous financial impact of COVID-19 manifested itself in New York City, many yellow taxi drivers were experiencing their own financial crisis. Drivers could no longer cover their business expenses, namely, the cost of their medallions, which in turn led to bankruptcies, divorces, defaults, second and third jobs, and even death by suicide.

It is no secret that the yellow cab industry in the city is mainly composed of racial minorities, largely South Asian and African immigrants. As an organization whose mission is to ensure equality for all people, it is particularly disturbing to witness the economic pain these drivers continue to endure. And as a branch whose geographic area includes a high percentage of immigrants, we are invested in helping our own. We cannot stand idly by while these families’ futures wither away, victims of speculators, fleet owners and scammers who promised them a secure financial future.

Much in the same way that larger industries were rescued from certain obliteration through government bailouts, it is time for the yellow cab industry, a hallmark of this city’s identity, to be afforded the same option. These essential workers deserve a helping hand during their darkest hour. Any economic recovery package for our city must include a bailout of the yellow cab industry. It is the right thing to do.

Candace Prince-Modeste, president, Jamaica Branch NAACP
Source:
New York Daily News

 

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Greetings. You may not know who we are, so let us introduce ourselves. We are the Yellow Cab Association, and we fight for justice. Justice for the yellow medallion owners and yellow cab drivers. Justice for those, whose lives were destroyed way before the COVID-19 pandemic. Justice for those, whose livelihoods were not just taken from them, but their dreams smashed in front of their eyes, as the shackles of loans & debt were locked in place. We seek justice, for those who have suffered, not at the hands of some virus but our own NYC elected officials.

So much has transpired in the past 9 years, so it’s hard to explain in a few words, but if you can give me a minute, I may be able to share the pain and suffering that grew in our industry as a fire, in which we have burned for so long – while many no longer live to feel it.

It began with a betrayal, as it always does. A betrayal by our officials, which led to a betrayal in our system, and ended with a betrayal of our rights. Beginning with the artificial inflation of the yellow medallion prices, orchestrated by the brokers, banks, and NYC elected officials (who turned a blind eye).

But what really struck the last nail in the coffin was the introduction of e-hail apps in NYC, especially with Uber and Lyft. Later on, they will pioneer not only in the taxi industry, but also in our destruction; not by innovation but rather by the corruption of the system.

Rome didn’t fall in a single day, neither did the medallion system. We held on as long as we could, hoping for TLC or the elected officials to awaken from their sleep of greed and fix our industry. With this hope we fought, yet failure always embraced us, as it became apparent that we no longer were welcome in the city we have served for decades.

With the pandemic wreaking havoc, we are forced to once again ask for justice and our rights. When Uber came to NYC, they were met with no opposition, they did not abide by city rules & regulations, and did as they pleased. After 9 years, e-hail corporations are still not regulated.

The mass pollution and congestion they caused is something all New Yorkers have to pay for, whether young or old, sick or well – everyone is feeling the pollution from 130,000 cars. Where are the environmentalists when you need them? Of course, they are with the elites, discussing their next campaign.

In 1937, the Haas Act came into effect, which was created because there were too many taxis looking for fares, but not enough passengers to make a healthy living. This later formed what would be the medallion system. We are now facing the same problem. As medallion owners and yellow cab drivers, we have “paid” to drive in NYC, by purchasing a permit called a medallion. But people have started to drive taxis without a permit, plunging our market value to zero, while also stealing our jobs.

In the beginning they did not even possess a TLC license or car plate, had to pay no other fees, while the medallions are heavily regulated. If they are Livery cars, then where were/are their bases – like the ones Carmel and Dial 7 have.

To rub salt in our wounds, in 2018 (almost 7 years later), NYC elected officials finally woke up and passed rule 149, to regulate all e-hail companies and their cars but it was never enforced. If you ask why? Corruption would be the answer. If you ask how they can get away with this? Money as the answer.

Please regulate and limit e-hail corporations. We are not the only ones suffering at their hands, so are their workers. Uber and other e-hail drivers are also facing similar problems, because of the lack of jobs, due to high volumes of unregulated taxis in NYC. To make matters worse, our guard against chaos, the TLC, has neglected its duties, and has become Uber’s new guard-dog. Whenever Uber feels like it, they throw TLC a bone – while we suffer, shackled under boulders called loans & debt.

Many people have been crushed by now, ending their own lives, many plan to do the same, and others carry on; while all but dead inside. We are not opposed to change, rather we welcome it. We see it as an opportunity to serve our community better. Then why are we excluded from it? We have not been given anything to compete with all these e-hail corporations. Everyone has a smartphone these days, even young children. In the future, they will not wait at the corner of the street and hail for taxis, they will use their smartphones to e-hail. Times have changed, so if nothing else, please update our industry, give us a TLC e-hail app that is advertised by TLC to the public, so we may actually have a fair-playing field against the polluters of our city.

Also, when I stated that we were not facing a virus, I may have misspoken. Corporations are a virus, a virus on our society, a virus to our environment, a virus for the hard-working people, and a virus to the system we depend on to keep us safe. We are not asking for a handout, we are asking for our rights. We are asking for our voice to be heard; we are asking for justice.

Yellow Cab Association