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February 2003
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The NYC Budget
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PROPOSED TAXI STANDS

NEW PARKING FINES

SUMMONS CODES

9/11 Memorial Taxicab
Medallion Unveiled

Disability Advisory Board Meets - September 13

What is Fare?

Taxi Drivers Speak Out

We Need A
Rate Increase Now !!!


Hotel Doormen

No More Hack License Suspensions
Before A Hearing !

First Taxi Industry
Job Expo in NYC!

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The Voice of the NYC Transportation Industry — Current Issue
Current Drug Testing System Decreases Taxi Service
Letters

London Finds Solution
To New York City Traffic

by David Pollack

Attention Individuals/Entities
with Interests in Medallion Taxicabs!
The Financial Disclosure Report
is due by
May 1, 2003 !
Click the following link
to go to the form on
the TLC website


TLC Link -
Financial
Disclosure
Report

I recently had the honor of being one of twelve panelists on an international BBC program. Arriving two hours early, I was able to speak with several Londoners about a new experiment of tariffs on all vehicles entering London, and the effects this experiment has had on traffic.

First, let me explain how the system works. Almost every vehicle must pay what amounts to $7.50 per day for a permit. This permit allows one to bring his/her vehicle to a predetermined area of London, England. This permit has to be displayed on vehicles within the zone. Toll booths have been built and 400 traffic permit agents have been hired to weed out any cheating drivers. Drives pass through an EZ-Pass-like toll system.

In addition, 800 cameras take photos of vehicle plate numbers and electronically compare them throughout the day and evening with a database of paid permits. When your license plate is observed at the toll plaza by this computerized photo system, either a bill or a deduction is generated. The permits are similar to, but even more obtainable than EZ-Pass, with prepayment locations throughout the city including newsstands. There are discounts for weekly, monthly and annual permits. Residents living in the London zone also receive a discount.

What really makes this pricing system work is the penalties! Minimum fines are about $100.00 per day for no permit. If a vehicle enters the permit zone without a permit, they still can pay up until midnight and not receive a penalty notice. Don't worry, taxi drivers: txis are exempt from these permits, as are buses, emergency vehicles and vehicles for the disabled.

According to the Londoners that I have spoken with, the experiment is an amazing success. I am told that there is virtually no traffic in London anymore. Suburban drivers park their vehicles in parking lots just outside the zone. The London bus system has tripled the amount of buses in service. Whereas one bus would stop every ten minutes at any particular bus stop, now there are three buses stopping every ten minutes at each stop!

My new friends told me that London cabbies love the zone tariff. They described the results of this new traffic tariff the following way. They were impressed by how little traffic there was this Sunday morning, compared with other mornings in New York City. I was told that driving in London now was like driving on Sunday, every day! There is an increase in the number of passengers driven daily.

Time is money in our business, and the less time it takes you to drive your passenger to a destination, the faster you can pick up that next farer. Imagine taking your fare cross-town in less than five minutes instead of the current twenty-five minutes. Imagine very little avenue traffic, whether driving up 6th Avenue at Herald Square or driving down 2nd Avenue towards the 59th Street Bridge.

A system in New York City similar to the successful tariff system in London, England will ease the demand for additional yellow cabs because of our ability to better service the public.

Additionally, as gridlock is reduced, gasoline efficiency will become better. At a time when gasoline prices are reaching an all time high, this is a very important fact. All vehicles get their worst mileage while idling in traffic.

It is unlikely any plan like the one in London can be successful in New York without help from the MTA. Instead of calling for cutbacks in service, they will need to dramatically increase service. Will they step up to the plate to service the amount of new mass transit passengers created by this tariff system?

It was Mayor Koch who initially presented a plan to charge all vehicles $10.00 per day to enter midtown or downtown Manhattan in the 1970's. I always wanted to take a picture with Mayor Koch. Coincidentally, I shared the panel on this rainy Sunday with eleven other New Yorkers for this BBC broadcast. Little did I know that Mayor Koch would be on the same panel with me! I finally got my picture.

Was meeting him this day meant to be? We shall see.

Section 8 Rules
Unfair To Drivers
by Taxi Attorney
Michael Spevak, Esq.

SUV's:
A Question of Safety

SUV "Stimulus" Plan ?

Taxi Drivers
Speak Out !

Toll Hikes
Could Have
Been Prevented !

Odds & Ends

Movie Reviews

Taxi Photo Gallery