Taxi of Tomorrow

Adopted Rules: Closed to Comments

Agency:
Effective Date: 
Wednesday, October 31, 2012
Download Copy of Adopted Rule (.pdf): 

 

Statement of Basis and Purpose of Rule

 

Over 1.2 million people per day ride in vehicles regulated by the Taxi and Limousine Commission. Since the demise of the Checker company in the early 1980’s, none of the vehicles used by the New York City medallion taxicab industry have been designed especially for taxicab service, and they are often repurposed police cruisers, minivans, or passenger sedans. Since these cars have not been designed or engineered specifically for taxi use, they have not included features and amenities that would be beneficial to owners, drivers, and passengers. Nor have they incorporated the latest technologies, accessibility features for people with disabilities, or safety advances.

 

In 2007, the City issued a Request for Information (RFI) and convened a Taxi of Tomorrow Advisory Committee (including taxi drivers, passengers, medallion owners, advocates for people with disabilities, advocates for the environment, various taxi driver and owner organizations, and designers) to help insure that the new taxicab meets the needs of diverse stakeholders.

 

In 2009, the City issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) seeking an exclusive provider of taxicabs to the medallion taxi industry. It sought a vehicle that offered:

 

·         The highest safety standards Superior passenger experience Superior driver comfort and amenities

·         Appropriate purchase price and on-going maintenance and repair costs

·         Minimal environmental impact

·         Minimal physical footprint with more useable interior room

·         Accessibility for all users

·         Iconic design that will identify the taxi with New York City

 

After receipt of 7 proposals from a variety of manufacturers, and a year-long detailed evaluation process, the City selected Nissan North America (Nissan) to be the exclusive taxicab provider for 10 years (with an additional 5-year commitment to provide parts and service). The Taxi of Tomorrow will also be available in a wheelchair accessible version. The Taxi of Tomorrow taxicabs will be known as Official Taxicab Vehicle (OTV) or the Accessible Official Taxicab Vehicle (AOTV).

 

The rule requires that if a medallion owner acquires a new vehicle on or after the activation date for the Taxi of Tomorrow, the owner must hack up the medallion with the Taxi of Tomorrow vehicle, to be known as the Official Taxicab Vehicle or the Accessible Official Taxicab Vehicle. The TLC anticipates the activation date for the Taxi of Tomorrow will be October 31, 2013. After the activation date, any candidate for a taxicab vehicle, including an accessible taxicab vehicle, must be safety tested with a partition.

 

Exemptions to this requirement include:

 

·       Owners of Medallions restricted to use with Alternative Fuel Vehicles may purchase any alternative fuel taxicab which meets the specifications described in TLC Rule 67-05.

·       Owners of the 231 Medallions issued prior to January 1, 2012 that are restricted to use with Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles, may purchase any accessible Taxicab which meets the accessible vehicle specifications set forth in Rule 67-05.2, including the Accessible Official Taxicab Vehicle.

·       Owners of Accessible Medallions issued by TLC on or after January 1, 2012 may purchase any accessible Taxicab which meets the accessible vehicle specifications set forth in Rule 67-05.2, including the Accessible Official Taxicab Vehicle.

·       With TLC’s authorization, owners of up to 496 Unrestricted Medallions issued prior to January 1, 2012 who choose to use an accessible vehicle may purchase any accessible Taxicab which meets the accessible vehicle specifications set forth in Rule 67-05.2, including the Accessible Official Taxicab Vehicle.

 

Vehicle Requirements/Options by Medallion Type

 

 

Nissan NV200 (OTV)

Nissan/Braun NV200 Accessible (AOTV)

TLC- Approved Hybrid or CNG

TLC-Approved Wheelchair- Accessible

Unrestricted Medallion issued prior to January 1, 2012

 

YES

 

YES

 

NO

 YES,

 up to 496 medallions

Restricted Alternate-Fuel Medallion issued prior to January 1, 2012

 

NO

 

NO

 

YES

 

NO

Restricted Wheelchair-Accessible Medallion issued prior to January 1,2012

 

NO

 

YES

 

NO

 

YES

2000 Restricted Medallions authorized by Street Hail Livery Law.

 

NO

 

YES

 

NO

 

YES

 

 

The rule requires the TLC to provide at least 120 days notice to medallion owners prior to the date after which unrestricted medallions must be hacked-up with the Official Taxicab Vehicle. The rule also makes certain, largely technical changes, to current taxicab rules to account for the fact that the Official Taxicab Vehicle will be manufactured and delivered under specifications set by contract with the manufacturer of the vehicle.

 

The Commission’s authority for this rules change is found in section 2303 of the New York City Charter and section 19-503 of the New York City Administrative Code.

 

In addition, these rules amend TLC rules governing the leasing of taxicabs or taxicab medallions to reflect the implementation of the Taxi of Tomorrow and will take effect once the Taxi of Tomorrow (ToT) is available for hack-up (the OTV Activation Date). The Commission’s authority to adopt these rules is found in section 2303 of the New York City Charter and section 19-503 of the New York City Administrative Code.

 

Amendments to Shift Leases

 

Some unrestricted medallion holders have hacked up hybrid vehicles and charged a $3 higher hybrid lease cap to drivers who lease their medallions. When the ToT becomes available these medallion owners will no longer be permitted to hack up with hybrid vehicles. Therefore, to help maintain these medallion owners’ business model and maintain the balance of costs and revenues for both owners and drivers, the TLC will increase by $3 the optional gas surcharge available to unrestricted medallion holders who list on a daily or weekly shift basis.

 

The amendments will:

 

·       On the date when the ToT first becomes available for use as a taxi (OTV Activation Date), increase the optional fuel surcharge by $3 per shift for all vehicles that are not hybrid vehicles.[1]

·       Permit all medallion owners (except for those already charging the hybrid lease rate)-- including those operating ToT vehicles and those still operating other vehicles--to apply the increased optional fuel surcharge on the OTV Activation Date.

 

Amendments to DOV Leases

 

The rules also amend the rules governing leases of medallions to drivers who own or lease their vehicles (DOV leases) to account for the fact that many medallion owners who currently lease their medallions to DOV operators are able to benefit from the driver's operating a hybrid vehicle by charging the driver the hybrid lease cap. The change will enable these medallion owners to earn the same revenues with ToT that they earned without ToT.

 

·         As ToT vehicles are placed into service:

o   Owners leasing medallions and medallion and vehicle packages to operators of ToT vehicles will be permitted to charge hybrid lease rates.

o   Medallion owners whose vehicles are required to be hybrids (i.e., restricted alternative fuel medallions) will continue to be able to lease these vehicles at hybrid lease rates.

 

Retirement Deadlines and Public Hearing

 

A public hearing on the rules as proposed was held by the TLC on September 6, 2012. Among the public comments received as testimony were several suggestions that the TLC consider granting retirement extensions to owners of vehicles retiring before the OTV activation date to facilitate a smooth roll out of the ToT vehicle and to allow some owners to wait to buy a ToT vehicle rather than being forced to buy a non-ToT vehicle before the OTV activation date. The staff considered this suggestion and agreed and proposed amending vehicle retirement requirements for certain vehicles as follows:

 

·       Taxicabs currently scheduled to retire beginning November 1, 2012 through May 31, 2013 will receive an extension through December 1, 2013 or such earlier date on which the owner elects to hack up a TOT vehicle.

·       Taxicabs currently scheduled to retire beginning June 1, 2013 through September 30, 2013 will receive an extension of six months, or such earlier date on which the owner elects to hack up a TOT vehicle.

·       To obtain an extension, an owner must file an election form with the TLC and specify the date by which they intend to hack up a TOT vehicle. The hack up date becomes the new scheduled retirement date.

·       Owners electing to participate and obtain an extension must acquire a TOT vehicle at the retirement of the existing vehicle.

·       Owners will obtain the extension will not be permitted to hack up a different vehicle before the newly elected scheduled retirement date unless a TOT vehicle is hacked up.

·       Owners will not be permitted to hack up another vehicle before the TOT vehicle becomes available. The TLC can grant exemptions to this requirement for good cause.

 

[1]This $3 per shift fuel surcharge increase will not apply to medallion owners leasing hybrid vehicles; however, these medallion owners will continue to be able to charge the higher hybrid lease rate.



 

Proposed Rule: