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Taxi Insider
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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!

Executive Director of the Committee for Taxi Safety, David Pollack speaking about the historic Taxi Job Expo — with Senator Charles Schumer (R)
and NYC TLC Chairman
Matthew Daus (L).

CTS Taxi Photo Gallery

Back to Committee for
Taxi Safety Home Page

The Voice of the NYC Transportation Industry November 2002 LETTERS TO THE EDITOR - click here !
WHY NYC CABBIES ARE THE BEST IN THE USA ! (for story, click on title)

The NYC Budget & Our Rate Increase
by David Pollack

So, here we are. Election Day is over and Pataki is still Governor. Did the multibillion dollar projected deficit in the New York City and New York State budgets influence New Yorker's votes in Albany? Did it affect your voting strategy? Probably not. New York State is going have a rough time financially, with a deficit almost twice as bad as the five billion dollar hole New York City finds itself in this coming year.

New Yorkers elected Mayor Bloomberg over Alan Hevasi, Mark Green and Freddy Ferrer because New Yorkers felt that "We need a successful businessman to straighten out this city's projected financial deficit." Now we are faced with serious questions. Will there be cuts in the Police Department, causing a crime rise? Will Firefighters be laid-off, posing a safety threat? Will our children suffer as a result of education cut?

Remember, we cannot finance the future. We have learned from the mistakes of the 70's. Let me remind you what happened then. A control board came into being and immediately fired twenty percent of the cops, fired twenty percent of the firefighters, fired twenty percent of the teachers, closed three hospitals and did a hideous thing called deficit financing. Ten percent of our current deficit is a direct result of what happened in the 1970's.  This city still pays five or six hundred million dollars of our sales tax to pay off the bonds that were issued in the financially hard times of the1970's. Deficit financing does not work!

Income from taxes based on stock sale profits are virtually gone. Tens of thousands of jobs have vanished, with them the taxes on salaries and the taxes on goods that would have been purchased with those salaries.

Obviously, instead of reducing city services, New Yorkers just want to maintain the status quo, which has been pretty hard to do since 9/11. It is especially difficult when the city is spending more than it is earning. That is really the problem in a nutshell. The result is our deficit.
We are all concerned about this city's future. At this time it looks as though projections of revenues coming into the city coffers are lower for the second half of the fiscal year ending June 2003.

The city's budget is mostly people. Sanitation, Police, Fire, Education, and Corrections are responsible for eleven billion dollars out of the fourteen billion dollar budget. The size of these agencies must be reduced by attrition. Mayor Bloomberg has already postponed the next graduating class of firefighters. Ninety-five percent of the budget for the NYPD is being spent on salaries, overtime and things of that sort. Adjusting schedules to save the city overtime money is part of the solution too. By the way, crime is still going down in all areas in New York City. We must learn to do more with less. Firing people is a last resort when all else has failed.
We also have a very big problem in the fiscal year 2004-2005. Mayor Bloomberg will ask all city agencies, including the TLC, for another 7.5% reduction in spending. These are all parts of the solution. Steps must be taken now by every agency to reduce expenditures.

Having the 2012 Olympics in New York City can be an amazing economic boost prior to the Olympics. Just the construction jobs alone are equal to 100,000 man-years! Most tourists now staying at hotels in New York City are Americans. But, according to statistics, foreign tourists spend four times what U.S. visitors spend. Also, although the hotels are full, the rates being paid is at a very low level. So once again, having the Olympics in New York City will help the Hotel business, retail businesses and the taxi business. Capital projects for the Olympics are pretty much all done with private monies.

Tolling bridges that are free today is just one of a number of alternatives for more city income. It will be Mayor Bloomberg's job to convince the New York City Council and Albany that tolls are warranted on East River crossings due to the City's financial situation. I wrote a rather lengthy article some months ago recalling the history of trying to toll the East River Bridges under the Koch administration. A long list of problems including traffic and pollution was enough to prevent tolls being initiated at that time. The installation of tollbooths could only result in a negative environment. Welcome to the twenty first century. We no longer need toll booths. There is something called speedy pass which is a version of EZ-Pass. Speedy Pass does NOT require toll booths at all, only a large scanning device that can driven under at any speed without interruption of your drive. The Mayor will be presenting a plan to buy EZ or Speedy passes at numerous locations including local stores. Of course it's still a nightmare for those of us who drive for a living. The TLC will have to grant round trip tolls for all fares to the outer boroughs.

Speaking of outer boroughs, I think there should also be an "over the meter charge" or surcharge to leave Manhattan NOW! Instead of initiating plans that would financially encourage drivers to drive fares to the outer boroughs, the TLC inspectors wait on the Manhattan bound side of Tillary Street asking drivers to go back into Brooklyn, and hitting them with refusal summonses! This type of "entrapment thinking" must cease if we want to nurture career dirvers in the yellow taxi industry. Summonses, summonses, and summonses is all I hear lately, and frankly I am sick of it. Sorry, I got side-tracked. Let's get back to the city.

The THRU STREET saga is just beginning. I have received dozens of phone calls from outraged drivers with tons of legitimate complaints: Passengers get out in traffic on the first block of a THRU street only to have the driver waste thirty minutes driving to the end of the THRU Street. THRU Streets take up to four times as long to go west-bound. Summonses are issued for double parking while picking up or dropping off passengers on THRU Streets. Thanks to Chairman Matthew Daus, I was able to make recommendations for the DOT (Department of Traffic) regarding THRU Streets and other traffic problems. Most of the recommendations came from YOU! Keep calling me, keep writing me, keep e-mailing me and when you see me, keep talking to me about bettering our dear taxi industry. Mayor Bloomberg has stated that he will try to get the kinks out of the THRU Streets and will fine-tune it with our recommendations.

On a final budget note, it should be very interesting to watch the MTA (Metropolitan Transit Authority) ask for more money from the city when there is no money. The City subsidizes mass transit as does the federal government and state, or at least they have until now. Will there be a fare increase for the New York City buses and trains? You can bet your bottom dollar that there will be an increase in transit fares. Unlike the New York City regulated yellow taxi industry, the MTA uses a combination of fare income and taxpayer money for purchasing new equipment, maintenance, and paying high salaries to upper management. We have to survive on whatever the passenger gives us, period. We deserve more money and should have received a fare increase last December. I guess the thirty percent increases on costs incurred on our vehicles since the last increase ó gasoline increases, maintenance increases, insurance increases ó just don't count when speaking to deaf ears. We will just have to wait it out. In 1990 and 1996 the MTA raised fares and we received fare increases shortly thereafter. We will probably win our rate of fare increase by default, not because expenses have gone up drastically.
Isn't it sad when the New York City economy is at its worst in thirty years, yet only an increase in subway and bus fares will raise taxi fares? Maybe it also has something to do with another bright note for the future: The sale of more New York City Taxi Medallions, which is included in the Mayor's proposed budget for next year. Election day is over, and here we are the same as beforeÖ

Or, will it be wor$e ?


TLC Chairman Daus
Meets with Cab Drivers
To Discuss Industry Issues

for story, click on the pic!

Top Five Ways To Make Your Car Run Forever !

Cell Phone Batteries
Can Zap EZ-Pass

We have been getting reports of EZ-Pass batteries dying. It seems that certain cell phone frequencies activate your EZ-Pass battery. This in turn drains the power of the battery and causes the EZ-Pass to be useless until the EZ-Pass tag exchanged itself. It was thought that only tolls could activate the EZ-Pass battery, but apparently not.

So, STAY OFF THE CELL PHONE and you will not have this battery problem!


The New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) today announced the launch of a survey on its web site (www.nyc.gov/taxi) to gauge the effectiveness of the "Celebrity Talking Taxi" program.  The "Celebrity Talking Taxi" program, which involved celebrity audio reminder messages to encourage taxicab passengers to buckle their seat belts, take their belongings and to get a receipt from their driver, was launched on August 1, 1997.

TLC personnel will also be taking the survey to the streets of the city, to seek the input of those New York City taxicab riders and visitors who may not have access to the Internet.

"The 'Celebrity Talking Taxi' program was created to enhance public safety," said TLC Commissioner/Chair Matthew W. Daus.  "While the TLC, in conjunction with the Mayor's Office of Operations, undertook a survey of taxicab riders to gauge the program's effectiveness in 1998, the conclusions it drew are somewhat dated today.  We believe it would be prudent to take a fresh look at the program's effectiveness so that we can either make the necessary modifications, or discontinue the program in favor of another approach to reach our goal of enhanced public safety."

Those without access to the TLC's web site at www.nyc.gov/taxi may make their opinions known by calling the agency's Customer Service Hotline at 212 NYC TAXI.