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Adopted Rules: Closed to Comments

Adopted Rules Content: 

Licensing Rules Review

 

The Taxi and Limousine Commission (“TLC” or “Agency”) recently reviewed its rules on how applicants obtain and renew their TLC licenses.  As a result of this review, TLC is simplifying a number of rules. The amendments make it easier to own and operate a taxi or for-hire vehicle without compromising safety and consumer protections.

 

Renewing Expired Driver and Vehicle Licenses

 

TLC rules currently prohibit licensees from renewing expired licenses.

[1]

  Licensees who do not complete all renewal requirements before their license expires must apply for a new license and complete all new application requirements. Currently licensees must also submit their renewal application at least 30 days before the expiration date to avoid a $25 late fee.

 

TLC does permit licensees who can prove that an unanticipated event prevented them from renewing the license before it expired to ask for more time.  In these cases, drivers may request up to 90 more days to complete the renewal requirements, and For-Hire Vehicle (“FHV”), Paratransit, and Commuter Van vehicle owners may request 31 more days.  Licensees not granted an extension or who are outside the extension period may not renew their license.

 

The rule amendments:

·        

Permit any driver to renew an expired license up to six months after the driver license expiration date,

·        

Permit the renewal of expired vehicle licenses up to 60 days after the vehicle license expiration date,

[2]

and

·        

Apply the $25 late fee only to renewal applications submitted after the license has expired.   

 

Under the new process, licenses will remain expired until the licensee completes all renewal requirements, and, as is the case today, a driver may not provide services until the license has been renewed. Such expired licenses will not be included in the lists of active licensees used by bases to determine which drivers have valid licenses.

[3]

   Licensees will benefit because they will avoid having to reapply for a new license and comply with the requirements for new applicants so long as they meet the new extended deadlines.  To encourage licensees to submit renewal applications earlier than 30 days before the expiration date, the rules also warns that renewal applications submitted later than this may not be processed to completion until after the expiration date.

 

Experienced Driver Education Exemption

 

Beginning in 1999, all applicants for a new taxi driver license were required to complete the 24-hour Authorized Driver Education Training (“Driver School”) regardless of their prior experience as a licensed TLC driver. In 2014, the taxi education rules were amended to exempt from Driver School experienced drivers who were licensed before 1999. To obtain the exemption, a driver must have had a prior TLC license before 1999 and must have applied for a new TLC license no more than two years after the prior license expired. 

 

In 2016, TLC combined taxi and FHV driver licenses into one TLC Driver License.  A driver who wishes to drive either a taxi or FHV must now apply for a TLC Driver License and complete Driver School.  Although the experienced driver education exemption is available to all TLC Driver License applicants, it still applies only to those who had a prior license before 1999, making applicants for a new TLC Driver License who previously held an FHV license from 2000 to 2015 ineligible, regardless of  years of experience.

 

To qualify all drivers who should be exempt from the Driver School requirement based on their years of experience and not on when they received their license, the rule amendments establish “experience” based on the duration of prior licensure and eliminate the pre-1999 licensure requirement. Specifically:

·        

Applicants who are applying less than two years after their prior license expired are exempt if previously licensed for at least 10 years,

·        

Applicants who are applying between two and five years after their prior license expired are exempt if previously licensed for at least 15 years.

 

In addition, under the amended rules, TLC will no longer consider only one continuously-held prior license but will instead count the total years a driver was licensed by TLC.

[4]

  However, as before, any prior revocation of a TLC-issued driver license will render an applicant ineligible for this exemption.  If an applicant is eligible for the exemption, TLC will continue to apply the usual driver screening protocols including criminal background checks, driving record checks and drug testing before determining whether or not to grant the TLC Driver License.

 

Taxi Vehicle Hardship Extension Requests

 

In 2001, TLC amended its vehicle retirement rules to provide for a Hardship Extension, which allows a vehicle owner with an economic or other personal hardship to continue operating the vehicle beyond the vehicle retirement date which would otherwise apply. The extension was limited to Independent Taxicab Owners and Long-Term Drivers whose vehicles were generally perceived to be safer and better maintained than vehicles owned by fleets or minifleets.

[5]

 

Because TLC now holds all medallion owners to the same high safety standards, the reasons for limiting extensions to Independent Taxicab Owners and Long-Term Drivers no longer apply.  Additionally, data from TLC safety and emissions inspections reveal, regardless of a medallion’s classification, comparable yearly mileage and high inspection passing rates.  Therefore, in line with recent TLC rule changes which standardize requirements that apply across the two classes of medallions,

[6]

as well as recent City Administrative Code changes which removed the required ratio of independent and minifleet medallions,

[7]

the amended rules permit any taxi owner to request a Hardship Extension.   Vehicles granted an extension must continue to pass triannual safety and emissions inspections to remain in service.

 

Seizure and Forfeiture of Commuter Vans

 

Local Law No. 8 of 2017 added unlicensed commuter van activity to the list of activities prohibited by Section 19-506(b)(1) of the Administrative Code.  Accordingly, these amended rules clarify TLC’s authority to seize and forfeit vehicles operating as unlicensed commuter vans is based on Section 19-506(b)(1), as well as in any other provision in the Administrative Code or TLC rules prohibiting the operation of an unlicensed commuter van or unlicensed commuter van service.   

 

Other Commuter Van Amendments

 

This rule package also amends existing rules governing commuter van drivers, commuter van vehicle owners and commuter van service owners to reflect recent local laws signed by Mayor de Blasio on February 15, 2017.  Pursuant to these amendments, commuter vans are no longer required to carry passenger manifests, applicants for a commuter van service license are not required to submit statements of public support, and commuter van service licensees are not required to renew their authorization every six years.  Additionally, the local law amendments increased the penalties for operating a vehicle as a commuter van without a license.  These amendments will make it easier to own and operate a properly licensed commuter van service while adding a deterrent to operating such a service illegally.

 

Additional Clarifications

 

Finally, this rule package amends the definitions for Accessible Taxi Dispatcher and Dispatch Fee in chapter 58 of the TLC Rules to match the definitions of these terms in chapter 51, which were amended as part of the 2016 Citywide Accessible Dispatch rulemaking.  Additionally, this rule package removes the outdated Taxi Accessibility Fee definition set forth in chapter 58. 

 

These rules are authorized by Section 2303 of the Charter and Section 19-503 of the Administrative Code of the City of New York.

 




[1]

For example, TLC rule 80-06(e)(4) provides that applications for the renewal of a TLC Driver License will not be accepted after the expiration date and that such License cannot be renewed.

[2]

For vehicle owners, the period of time an expired license can be renewed is limited by the process through which TLC requests New York State Department of Motor Vehicles (“DMV”) revocation of DMV-issued TLC vehicle license plates.  After vehicle license plates are revoked, a vehicle owner must apply for a new TLC license before the DMV will issue new TLC license plates for the vehicle.     

[3]

The TLC-published lists of active licensees are used by TPEP and LPEP vendors to determine which drivers can log into taximeters, while FHV bases, Paratransit bases and Commuter Van service owners use these lists to determine which drivers and vehicles can provide service.

[4]

TLC will measure experience by determining the duration(s) of any prior TLC Driver License, Taxicab Driver License or FHV Driver License.  If an applicant held more than one license at the same time, TLC will only count one license for purposes of determining experience (for example, an applicant who previously held a Taxicab Driver License between January 1, 1997 and December 31, 2006 and a FHV Driver License between January 1, 2005 and December 31, 2012 would have 15 years of experience).         

[5]

New York City Record, Jan. 29, 2002.

[6]

On February 25, 2016 the Commissioners repealed the owner must drive rules, which required that owners of Independent Medallions operate the Medallion a minimum number of hours each year.  Additionally, on April 23, 2015, the Commissioners adopted uniform taxi vehicle retirement rules, where different retirement lengths previously applied based on the classification of the associated Medallion.

[7]

2017 N.Y.C. Local Law No. 59 

Effective Date: 
Sat, 07/15/2017

Adopted Rules: Closed to Comments

Adopted Rules Content: 

 

 

Statement of Basis and Purpose

 

The purpose of this rule is to extend for one year the retirement dates of medallion taxicabs with retirement dates from April 1, 2013 through the Official Taxi Vehicle Activation Date, or through December 1, 2013, whichever is earlier.

 

In accordance with the Stipulation of Settlement in MTBOT v. City of New York, 08 Civ. 7837 PAC, dated December 1, 2012, TLC is amending its rules to extend by one year the vehicle retirement dates of medallion taxicabs with retirement dates from April 1, 2013 through the Official Taxi Vehicle Activation Date, or through December 1, 2013, whichever is earlier.

 

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

 

 

Effective Date: 
Sun, 05/26/2013

Adopted Rules: Closed to Comments

Adopted Rules Content: 

 

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.



 

Effective Date: 
Wed, 10/31/2012