The NYC Taxi and Limousine Commission has changed the venue of its public hearing on its proposed accessibility rules scheduled for Thursday, September 28th, 2017 from its offices at 33 Beaver Street, to the New York Downtown Marriott on 85 West Street, 2nd Floor, New York, NY 10006. (Click address for directions, or see map, below). This change in venue is required due to an unprecedented amount of anticipated protest activity, not to mention the massive number of people not only expected to attend, but to testify, as well.
Immediately following the hearing, the BCAC will be preparing a special report on what transpires, which will be available on our website, as well as sent out via e-mail to our members. Also please keep in mind that although previously reported to have been September 21st, 2017, the period to submit written comments on this proposed rule has been extended through the day of the hearing, and we surmise even after the hearing takes place. For instructions on how to submit your written comments, or to sigh up to testify in person, click here to be routed to our special "All Hands On Deck!" webpage dedicated to everything related to this hearing.
Here is some background, for reference, on the proposed rule:
The proposed rules, as written, would require all FHV bases to dispatch 25% of their trips in wheelchair accessible vehicles, and would give FHV bases the ability to dispatch to any wheelchair accessible FHV. This 25% "quota," for lack of a better term, will be reached via phase-in as follows: at least 10% of a base's total trips for calendar year 2018 must be dispatched to and completed by a WAV, with that percentage increasing by 5% a year to 15% in 2019, 20% in 2020 and finally, 25% by 2021.
For bases which fail to meet the required percentages per respective year, there will be a $50 fine for each 100 trips by which the base missed the percentage of trips it was required to dispatch to WAVs. For clarity, here is an example: Example Car & Limo dispatches 200,000 trips during calendar year 2018, but only dispatches 10,000 trips to accessible vehicles. In this scenario, Example Car & Limo will have missed the mandatory 10% by 10,000 trips, having only completed 5%, and therefore, be subject to a $5,000 fine.
Moreover, bases that fail to dispatch enough trips to WAVs to meet at least half of the relevant yearly required percentage run the risk of having their base license suspended for up to 30 days, or even revoked. Appearance would also be required.
Additional requirements include that the "Base Owner must provide 'equivalent service' to persons with disabilities," with "equivalent service" meaning equivalent to the service provided to other individuals with respect to:
- Response time to requests for service
- Fares charged
- Hours and days of service availability
- Ability to accept reservations
- Restrictions based on trip purpose
- Vehicle types offered
- Other limitations on capacity or service availability
Failure to provide disabled customers with "equivalent service," in-line with the above mentioned, carries a $1,000 fine per occurrence, as well as a mandatory appearance.
The BCAC has already begun working with other trade organizations and will stand jointly opposed to these proposed rule changes. To sign up to testify at the hearing, call the TLC at 212-676-1135 any time prior to the hearing, or sign up in the hearing room the day of, prior to the hearing's start. The deadline to submit written comments is September 28, 2017 (or otherwise, until reported otherwise), and should be mailed to the same address above, but put it to the attention of the Office of Legal Affairs on the 22nd Floor. You can also email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.