TLC Commissioner Blows off Taxi Symposium
Immigrant medallion owners and advocates for people with disabilities express outrage at the Commissioner’s snub of an event to manifest their dire concerns with the decimation of their life savings; and the willingness of regulators to allow continued discrimination against people with disabilities.
TUESDAY, JUNE 27, 2017
9:00 am – 1:00 pm
(Breakfast & Registration begins at 8:30 am)
New York Institute of Technology
11th Floor Auditorium
16 W 61st St (Broadway)
New York, NY 10023
SPONSORED BY THE UNIVERSITY TRANSPORTATION RESEARCH CENTER OF THE CITY COLLEGE OF NEW YORK
On Tuesday, June 27th a comprehensive symposium on the taxi industry-viewed by many in and out of the industry as in free fall — will be held at the New York Institute of Technology, 16, West 61st in Manhattan. The event is sponsored by the University Transportation Research Center (UTRC).
The theme of the event is, “Disrupted by Technology and Politics,” and will focus on the impact of the new e-hail companies on the taxi industry, and the lack of a robust response from the regulators and elected officials that are supposed to have the fiduciary responsibility to maintain the medallion system. In addition, the event will be keynoted by CM Ydanis Rodriguez, who chairs the City Council’s Transportation Committee.
In spite of the symposium’s import, Meera Joshi, Chair of the NYC Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) will not be participating in the event — a decision that she likely did not make independently. What this indicates to the beleaguered immigrant taxi medallion owners is what they have suspected all along — Joshi is an ineffective pawn of a mayor who seems incapable of taking any remedial action; even as more and more of these medallion owners are facing foreclosure on their loans.
As Brad Gerstman, spokesperson for New Yorkers for Equal Transportation Access (NYETA) points out:
“We’re disappointed, but frankly not surprised at the Joshi snub. For over two years we have petitioned the TLC to take action to protect medallion owners and people with disabilities, but that action — where it has occurred — has been totally ineffective”
The symposium will have a number of knowledgeable transportation researchers and academics who will be weighing in on the problems that the industry is facing — and some of the possible public policy solutions. A key area of emphasis will be on whether as cap on the number of for hire vehicles would be advisable from both an equity and transportation standpoint — since as it stands today the number of cars congesting NYC streets is proliferating without any imposed limits.
A panel in the morning will take a close look at the issue of accessibility, and the fact that companies, like Uber and Lyft — unlike NYC taxis — are not providing any real number of accessible vehicles. As Taxis for All spokesperson Edith Prentiss points out:
“The fact that NYC continues to allow these companies to blatantly discriminate against people with disabilities is to its everlasting shame. If racial or gender groups were treated this badly we don’t believe that NYC would sit idly by. Their inaction speaks volumes about how they care about my community.”
In addition, a Noon panel of immigrant medallion owners will give the audience a first person perspective on the plight of over 6,000 mistreated NYC immigrants; and will highlight some of the following questions:
*What has the influx of TNCs done to the taxi industry and the value of your medallion?
*Has the TLC done a good job regulating the newcomers? If not, why not?
*What is your view of how the mayor and the city council have handled the influx?
*What about the exclusive right of taxis for on demand service? How has the city not lived up to its own statutes?
*The city council speaker has suppressed bills that would create regulatory fairness. What is your view about this anti-democratic activity?
*If Vision Zero — designed by the mayor to reduce traffic in NYC — is one of the mayor’s priorities, what does the influx of TNCs do to that vision?
*Do you think there should be a TNC cap on the number of cars licensed in NYC?
*Describe how regulations create an unfair competition in the taxi industry.
Contact: Nicole Epstein (718-309-7763)