LANJ Recognized at LCT Show in Vegas, Creating ‘Chauffeur Training Certification Program
The Livery Roundtable (LRT) and the Black Car Assistance Corporation (BCAC)—along with several livery and black car bases in New York City, and Alexander Reyf, a driver and owner of black cars—have filed a lawsuit against the city’s Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC).
The suit alleges that the TLC acted illegally, violating the city charter, the administrative code, and other authorities, when it arbitrarily and capriciously pushed through a regulation disguised as a pilot of “e-hail” applications to hail yellow taxis. Randy Mastro is representing the car bases in the suit.
The suit arises from action taken by the TLC in December 2012. The TLC was set to vote on a proposed taxi e-hail regulation on Dec. 13, 2012. The for-hire industry strongly opposed the regulation on the grounds that, among other things, it violated applicable legal and statutory standards and required review by the city council. The for-hire industry also noted that the regulation would encourage discriminatory ride refusals.
On Dec. 12, rather than vote on the proposed new regulation, the TLC announced that it would instead push through an e-hail “pilot” program that was even more problematic. There was no public hearing on the “pilot,” and the for-hire industry alleges that, in passing the e-hail resolution, the TLC failed to follow its own rules for pilot programs.
The suit also alleges that the TLC does not have the authority to allow taxis to secure passengers through pre-arrangement without licensure. The suit seeks a temporary restraining order. According to the resolution, the e-hail program will begin as early as February 15, 2013.
”TLC’s knee-jerk reaction to bypass a ‘no’ vote was to rush through what we claim is an illegal ‘pilot’” said Carolyn Castro, executive director of the LRT, a nonprofit umbrella group that represents the interest of about 240 bases and 14,000 livery drivers. “Under the e-hail program, yellow taxis will be able to perform both street hail and prearranged trips, which effectively reinstitutes a system that the city council chose to eliminate two decades ago because it facilitated racial and destination discrimination,” added Castro.
“In the City Council Transportation Committee public hearing on this issue, the members of the committee emphasized to the TLC that it cannot grant taxis the right to prearrange trips without city council approval,” said Avik Kabessa, LRT member and livery base owner. “When the TLC moved forward anyway with the e-hail program, we had no choice but to go to court.”
“As we have alleged in this case, the Bloomberg administration has once again chosen to impose its will without appropriate public input and with disregard for existing law,” said Ira J. Goldstein, BCAC executive director. “From bike lanes to pedestrian plazas, too often so-called ‘pilots’ become permanent at the whim of city hall.”
“In our view, in the rush to appear cutting-edge and tech-savvy, the TLC passed a program that ignores the city charter and will create a situation where thousands of yellow taxi drivers will be crisscrossing New York City in violation of the TLC’s distracted driver rules,” added BCAC President Berj Haroutunian.
For additional information on this legal suit, please contact LRT’s
Anat Gerstein at (718) 793-2211, extension 100, or BCAC’s Bill Farrell at
(212) 652-3866 . LD03/13