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Proposed Rules: Closed to Comments

Agency:
Comment By: 
Friday, June 2, 2017
Proposed Rules Content: 

Statement of Basis and Purpose of Proposed Rules

 

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 considering simplifying a number of rules. The proposed amendments would 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 proposed rules would:

·        

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 would 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 would not be included in the lists of active licensees used by bases to determine which drivers have valid licenses.

[3]

   Licensees would still 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 proposed 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 proposed rules would 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 would be exempt if previously licensed for at least 10 years,

·        

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

 

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

[4]

  However, as before, any prior revocation of a TLC-issued driver license would render an applicant ineligible for this exemption.  If an applicant is eligible for the exemption, TLC would 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,

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

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the proposed rules would 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 proposed rules would  clarify that 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

 

The proposed rules would also amend 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 proposed amendments would 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, the proposed rules would amend 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, the proposed rules would remove 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 

Subject: 

.TLC Licensing Rules Updates

Location: 
TLC Commission Room
33 Beaver St, 19th Floor
New York, NY 10004
Contact: 

Mail. You can mail written comments to the Taxi and Limousine Commission, Office of Legal Affairs, 33 Beaver Street – 22nd Floor, New York, New York 10004.
Fax. You can fax written comments to the Taxi and Limousine Commission, Office of Legal Affairs, at 212-676-1102.
Email. You can email written comments to tlcrules@tlc.nyc.gov.