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Thread: New York Taxi

  1. #616
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    NYC - Downtown


    The 311 system is the perfect circular file. Perhaps it's good as a catalog of inquires, but I've found it underwhelming in terms of getting action on a problem.

  2. #617


    Lofter is right 311 (for most things) = big fail- a terminal dead end.

  3. #618


    He is not done yet, we have him another 2 1/2 years ......

  4. #619


    Get a hack license. If you can't afford 'em, join 'em.

    Quote Originally Posted by lofter1 View Post
    They're above my pay scale already.

  5. #620


    Unless he gets extended again (yes, I know, unlikely)

    Quote Originally Posted by milleniumcab View Post
    He is not done yet, we have him another 2 1/2 years ......

  6. #621


    And, why the hell is the city picking one vehicle for the taxi fleet. Why don't they just issue minimum requirements, and let the medallion owner pick their own vehicles (as long as they meet the requirments).

  7. #622


    City facing double legal woes for wheelchair-unfriendly taxis
    Posted: 27 May 2011 04:50 PM PDT
    <img title="nissan" alt="" width="500" height="320">
    The “taxi of tomorrow” is turning into the nightmare of today for the Taxi and Limousine Commission.
    On Tuesday, a judge nixed the City’s attempt to dismiss a lawsuit to invalidate its selection of the Nissan NV200 – which is not wheelchair accessible — by a leading civil rights group. The group, Disability Rights Advocates, can now proceed in its legal effort to stop the city from ordering a custom-created vehicle that cannot accommodate people in wheelchairs.
    “It’s an issue that’s not being solved politically, so I’m thrilled that we have the avenue to address it in courts,” said Julia Pinover, supervising staff attorney for DRA New York City.
    “We are confident that we will prevail once the full merits are heard,” countered Connie Pankratz, deputy communications director for the NYC Law Dept.
    The ruling by U.S. District Court Judge George Daniels in Manhattan came a day after taxi medallion owners began receiving letters from the Department of Justice, indicating that a federal investigation was underway as to whether the city is in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
    A spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney, which deals with DOJ complaints locally, said it is office policy not to discuss, or even confirm, investigations, but Gabriel Taussig, chief of New York City’s Administrative Law Division, acknowledged the probe while expressing confidence that the feds would “reach the same conclusions that we did.”

    The federal investigation was triggered by a March 29 complaint sent by Assemblyman Micah Z. Kellner, D., Manhattan, to the U.S. Department of Justice. He fired off another blistering missive to the U.S. Attorney this week, alleging, among other things:
    * That allowing able-bodied citizens to hail one of 13,237 cabs via a “demand responsive” system while requiring the city’s 60,000 wheelchair-bound citizens to summon one of only 232 accessible cabs via a dispatch service constitutes “a completely separate and unequal transportation system.”
    * That wheelchair users have to wait an average of 34 minutes for cabs after calling for one, whereas it took a person in the street 5.4 minutes to hail a cab in midtown in one 2001 study. Waiting seven times longer “proves that this system does not meet the equivalent response time” requirements in the ADA, said Kellner.
    * That it is not clear if the city’s plan “is even viable” due to user fees the TLC plans to impose on medallion owners to support the dispatch service.
    Pankratz countered that even though the ADA “specifically exempts taxicabs” from any requirement that they be accessible to people with wheelchairs , the TLC is developing a program that constitutes “equivalent service.”
    Advocates have said the ADA exemption for taxicabs is intended to apply only to cities where everyone uses dispatch services for cabs.
    A TLC spokesman previously told amNY that a Nissan NV200 version that is wheelchair accessible would add $14,000 to the $29,000 vehicle. But Pinover said yesterday that the city has enough leverage, given the size of its order, to have the cars modified for as little as an additional $3,000.
    While 1.8% of today’s fleet is wheelchair accessible (medallions for accessible cars cost less) the owners of conventional vehicles can volitionally decide to “hack up” their cars to make them accessible. “Out of the whole 13,000, only one person has chosen to do that,” said Pinover.
    Pinover said “it would not be prudent” to proceed with the Nissan contract, given the Department of Justice investigation and her group’s pending litigation. Pankratz said the city is free to “continue with the process.”

  8. #623
    NYC Aficionado from Oz Merry's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002


    Hey millenium, how goes it? Hope you're bein' careful out there .

    Taxi-Industry Battle Continues, With Echoes of 1971


    This yellow-streaked city is no stranger to bitterly fought wars within its taxi industry, a saga that at times can resemble a daytime soap opera. Call it “As the Taxi Turns.”

    Imagine this not-unfamiliar scenario: a beleaguered taxi commissioner (and former city councilman) wants more regulation of the hordes of unlicensed, uninspected gypsy cabs that cruise the streets of the outer boroughs. He sets out to convince leaders of the taxi industry that more regulation is in their favor.

    Over our Turtle-Waxed bodies, say the medallion owners, who argue that a new city-approved class of competing cabs would siphon away business and make their pricey medallions worthless. Regulation “spells doom for the whole industry,” warned one taxicab Cassandra.

    Reader, the year of this Alamo-like standoff was 1971. Those medallions that were at risk? Worth about $20,000 apiece, give or take, about one forty-seventh of what one goes for on the open market today. (Even factoring in inflation, medallions are worth about eight times more now than they were then.)

    The 2011 version of this conflict has been playing out over the past few months as the Bloomberg administration, led by the taxi commissioner and former councilman David S. Yassky, tries to implement a plan that would allow a new class of livery cab to pick up passengers off the street, anywhere but the densest parts of Manhattan.

    The city says it wants every New Yorker to enjoy the La Guardia-given right of a safe, clean ride in a taxi, a privilege that usually extends only to Manhattan below 96th Street, where about 95 percent of the city’s taxi pickups occur.

    The taxi industry, however, is staunchly opposed, arguing that they would, yep, lose business, and that their medallions would lose value. “This is life and death for the yellow taxi industry,” said one industry insider.

    The elements of these fights are telltale: the calamitous rhetoric conveyed by worried businessmen, the falsely utopian visions set forth by City Hall. In the end, neither doom nor nirvana seem to come to pass.

    In 1971, Michael J. Lazar, the chairman of the Taxi and Limousine Commission, announced that he would bring “an end to the city’s gypsy-cab problem.” Gypsy cabs, which cruised the yellowless provinces of the Bronx, Queens and outer Brooklyn, would soon be allowed to operate legally, as long as they agreed to take only trips arranged on the telephone.

    “Regulation of livery vehicles will ensure that the drivers are of good moral character, that the cars are safe, that they carry adequate insurance and that the riding public is thoroughly protected,” Mr. Lazar said.

    The yellow-cab industry cried foul, and so did the gypsy drivers, who believed that stricter enforcement would kill off their lucrative, if illegal, cruising business — the same complaint levied today by some livery cab drivers who believe Mayor Bloomberg’s proposal will cut down on their income.

    This time around, the biggest protests have been peaceful gatherings outside City Hall. In 1971, gypsy drivers tangled up traffic and lit bonfires on Southern Boulevard in the South Bronx.

    Firemen were pelted with bottles. The morning after a protest, 50 yellow-cab drivers found that their cars’ back windows had been smashed in with garbage bins and bricks.

    In another historical echo, gypsy cab drivers complained that they provided a critical service to areas of the city under-served by yellow cabs. Arranged rides “might work in middle-class areas where everyone has a telephone to call for a cab, but in the ghetto areas, you’ve simply got to have cabs that cruise,” said one gypsy-cab lawyer at the time. “The medallions cabs won’t do it, so our people do it.”

    The city’s proposal eventually went through, and the gypsy cabs of yore became the livery cabs of today. Now, ironically enough, City Hall is facing a similar fight to allow those livery cabs to pick up street hails – the very thing those drivers wanted back in 1971.

    By 1973, Mr. Lazar, the taxi commissioner, said he was fed up with the battles and would most likely abdicate his perch within a year, a promise he made good on.

    “I don’t think I can last more than that,” he told The New York Times. “I was a city councilman for six years, and that was child’s play compared to this.”

    Years later, Mr. Lazar would be indicted on federal racketeering charges stemming from bribes he provided to city parking officials; he was eventually sentenced to three years in prison and a fine of $200,000.

    Medallion values, meanwhile, continued to grow; a medallion was sold last year for nearly $1 million. And tug-of-war among taxi officials, from the city and industry both, continues.

  9. #624


    I'm doing OK Merry, Thanks for asking..

    Oooooo by the way, the lenders of the medallion industry have already reduced the maximum (refinancing and new medallion) loans by 50,000 dollars. Even before the Bill is signed by the Governor.. and if this bill becomes a law, it will be the first time in NYC taxi history, a vehicle other than a Yellow Medallion Taxi will be outfitted with a METER and given the right to pick up street hails thus ending the exclusivity for the Yellows. This is big and will effect Yellow medallion prices in a big way. That's if the Courts allow it too..

  10. #625
    NYC Aficionado from Oz Merry's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002


    Hello from Oz, millenium .

    What do you think about this?

    A Solution for a Vexing Question: Is This Cab Available?


    The taxicab roof light, the occasionally head-scratching system that can befuddle out-of-towners and facilitate fare refusals, may be ready for a makeover.

    The Taxi and Limousine Commission is considering a plan that would eliminate taxis’ smaller “off-duty” lights in favor of a single, central beacon: it would be illuminated if the cab is available, and dark if it is not.

    The current two-tiered roof light, which indicates when a cab is free, filled, or off duty, is one of the last parts of the taxi experience untouched by the Bloomberg administration, which has mandated a television in the backseat, a GPS device in the front and, coming soon, laptop chargers and reading lights.

    The city’s light proposal, modeled after the cabs in London, would simplify a setup that officials said could lead to “misunderstandings between drivers and passengers.”

    “To the uninitiated, we wonder whether the system isn’t a little confusing,” said David S. Yassky, the chairman of the taxi commission.

    But to decipher the vagaries of the taxi roof light is to prove one’s identity as a street-tested New Yorker, and any change to the design, which has been in place for decades, would eliminate what is considered one of the litmus tests of city citizenship.

    Now, cabdrivers can illuminate the central light and the off-duty signs, indicating that they are finishing a shift but are still available for riders who happen to be going the same way. This can lead to some heated negotiations, particularly during the dreaded 5 p.m. shift change, and a moment of cognitive dissonance for the unaccustomed.

    “It looks like they’re available when they’re not,” complained Dottie Fawcett, 56, a first-time visitor from Delaware who was trying to hail every cab in sight, even the darkened ones, at the corner of 42nd Street and Avenue of the Americas on Tuesday. “You can’t always tell.”

    A single-light system, she said, would be a great idea. “That would make life easier,” she said as yet another yellow cab sped past.

    A cabby can be fined for refusing to take a fare, but this rejection is allowed whenever the off-duty light is illuminated. This can lead to some abuse: it is not unusual for cabbies to flip on their off-duty signs in, say, a rainstorm, allowing them to choose which passengers to take.

    “The potential for illegality is definitely there,” said Graham Hodges, a taxi historian, who has written about some of the roof light’s darker moments. In the 1970s, Mr. Hodges said, drivers would sometimes disable the light so they could cruise and haggle over prices. Later, the city discovered that cabbies were using the off-duty lights to avoid unwanted passengers, particularly minorities.

    Mr. Yassky said those problems were among the reasons the city was considering a change. “I do think there’s a certain amount of abuse of the off-duty light,” he said.

    London cabs operate smoothly even without the off-duty indicator light, the taxi commission said. Some Paris taxis recently added lights that glow green when a taxi is available and turn red when filled.

    In 2005, the city’s Design Trust for Public Space solicited ideas for what a modern roof light might look like. One submission included LED signs that gave a cab’s status in colloquialisms like “I’m Free!” and “Nope.”

    The taxi commission does not know when a decision will be made, but has posted an online survey to collect feedback from passengers and cabbies about the single-light concept. Initial responses seemed mixed.

    “How about a red flag up when it’s a no-go, and then a green flag up when you’re good to go?” Bhairavi Desai, executive director of the New York Taxi Workers’ Alliance, a drivers’ group, said on Tuesday. She said she was watching a woman try to get a ride in a row of cabs, all with off-duty lights glowing. “That is an issue, particularly this time of day,” she said.

    Sometimes, however, even knowing the system is no aid to landing a ride. David Buda, an executive at a corporate travel agency, has lived in New York for 37 years and said he knew the taxi light system like he knew the street grid. But he was having no luck finding a cab on Tuesday afternoon.

    “I’m looking for a light; I’m hoping to see the center light,” he said, standing at the southwest corner of Bryant Park. He whistled, waved his hand and walked to the opposite side of the street: nothing. Finally, he gave up and began to walk.

  11. #626
    Chief Antagonist Ninjahedge's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003


    They could have just made the thing color coded too you know.

    Red = no.

    But the single light makes more sense. I never understood what the difference was, from the POV of a potential passenger, between "occupied" and "off duty". Both meant "no cab".

  12. #627


    I agree. The off-duty light often leades to the driver to be selective in obtianing fares. More than once, I have lost access to an on-duty cab when and off-duty cab pulled in front and than refused to take me. It is a pet peeve of mine.

  13. #628


    I think, loosing the option to be off duty and solicit "going my way" fares isn't going to hurt the drivers as much as it's going to hurt the riding public who is in desperate need of a cab during the MAD hours of 4 to 5 pm.. The way it is right now does allow for some drivers to abuse but I believe the fines are stiff enough to stop most of that abuse. If not they can always be stiffened up even more.. What the TLC is not able to see is this; Single light system will shorten the cab supply considerably at the beginning of the evening rush hour.. Current roof light system has worked for many years and most importantly, the majority of the riding public knows how it works. As for the tourists; no matter what we do, they will always be confused about the roof light.

    Another important matter is this; the current off duty light is the only way I can communicate with the prospective passengers the fact that I intend to go off duty once I drop off my last fare.. I can not see how they are going to work that out with the single light system. With it, I will not LAWFULLY be able to take time out during my shift if there is a fare waiting every time I drop one off.. and that does happen in high taxi demand periods..rush hour, rain storm, etc.

  14. #629


    What they should be looking into is how to improve the current roof light system as it is, not necessarily change it to single light system.. perhaps, color coding is the answer..

  15. #630


    Quote Originally Posted by Ninjahedge View Post
    They could have just made the thing color coded too you know.

    Red = no.

    But the single light makes more sense. I never understood what the difference was, from the POV of a potential passenger, between "occupied" and "off duty". Both meant "no cab".
    NH, with the single light system it will still mean "no cab" when a cab is "occupied" or "off duty".. at least now, you have a chance with the off duty one..

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