On June 12th, the Mayor announced a series of proposed caps on for-hire vehicles (FHV) operating in the city of New York. The first is an extension to the cap on for-hire vehicle licenses, and an additional cap will be created to cap the permissible cruise time of empty for-hire vehicles in New York City.
The predatory regulations and fees imposed by the different agencies and companies have devastated the livelihood of many taxi drivers across New York City. The City has seen over 900 Taxi drivers file for bankruptcy, many of them accruing hundreds of thousands of dollars in bank loans. The City has also seen nine suicides from taxi drivers within the past year. Council member Rodriguez wants to ensure that all stakeholders are present and able to voice their concerns for the proposed caps of the FHV.
“In New York City the growing for-hire vehicle industry has left behind many drivers from all sectors. We must ensure that we have an open discussion about the for-hire vehicle cap implementation before we impose them onto our drivers,” said Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez, Chairman of the Transportation Committee “The council should have an adequate period of time in which we can review and digest the report that was released, which made the cap recommendations. I believe the council and myself were not given the appropriate time to look over the report before the changes were announced.”
Many of the livery drivers that operate in the city are Latinos and people of color, the City must be sure that these new regulations will not affect these drivers negatively. Council Member Rodriguez applauds the Mayor for the work he has done to ensure that the taxi medallion industry stays afloat through the waiving of the medallion fee, which would eliminate the $1,100 renewal fee the TLC collects every two years. Council Member Rodriguez has also introduced legislation today that will decrease the commercial motor vehicle tax (CMVT). The bill would decrease the fee that the taxi medallion owners must pay which currently stands at $1,000 and reduce it to $400 making it equal to the CMVT imposed on all other for-hire vehicles.
“In 2014, the City sold taxi medallions at a price they knew was not real, if we wish to help all of our drivers, then we must include all of them within our conversations. We can only do this by holding public forums, town halls, and open hearings, all of our drivers deserve to be heard.”
Council Member Rodriguez mentioned, “We cannot simply put a Band-Aid solution to this growing problem, the City must work together and put together a comprehensive plan that will save and separate the four sectors of the taxi industry…
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I am committed to continuing working alongside Speaker Corey Johnson, my colleagues at the Council, and advocates to work towards improving the living conditions of our taxi drivers in the City of New York.” said Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez.