The NYC Taxi and Limousine Commission will be moving forward with its vote on the proposed FHV Wheelchair Accessibility rule on Wednesday, December 13, 2017. If passed as written, this rule would put THOUSANDS of our fellow community members out of work resulting from the mass closure of small bases city-wide, unable to bare the financial burden associated with attempting to simply remain in compliance with the mandate.
The BCAC, joined by The Black Car Fund and a variety of other notable Industry Partners, came together to form an Industry Coalition dedicated to fighting this more than unreasonable proposed rule. For a recap on the efforts of the Coalition thus far, click here to read a recent Crain's article on the group and issue. With the CATASTROPHIC rule vote under two weeks away, a Facebook page called "Wrong WAV" (which you can get to by clicking here) has been launched and is dedicated to the same. We are calling on all those involved in our Industry in any way, shape or form to both "Like" & "Share" the page, and encourage others to do so, as well. Our Industry is counting on us!
The NYC Taxi and Limousine Commission will be holding a public hearing on it's proposed rules relating to FHV accessibility on Thursday, September 28th at 10 AM, taking place at its offices at 33 Beaver Street, 19th Floor, New York, NY 10004.
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, 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 email@example.com.