Mayor Bloomberg’s speech last week on “green” regulations being implemented in New York City has intensely caught the attention of the chauffeured transportation industry. It’s not clear to the major companies whether they have to comply with these new rules and when that will happen. As for now, this is what we’re hearing about the proposed rules:
- Companies registered with the New York City Taxi & Limousine Commission (TLC) under the “black car” category can only purchase vehicles that are 25 mpg or higher starting Jan. 1, 2009. This will increase to 30 mpg at the beginning of 2010.
- There is no current plan to extend this rule to registered members of the “limousine” category. The TLC is considering extending the rules to the “community” category, which is mostly older Town Cars. It’s possible that the “limousine” category could be included in the rules at some point.
- Operators do not have to purchase hybrids, but they are recommended by the city. The only non-hybrids that get over 25 mpg are small cars not used in this industry. Town Cars average about 12 mpg, and nearly all the NYC “black cars” are Town Cars. Operators we’ve spoken to are not clear about what hybrid vehicles would work in their fleets.
- Since “black car” operators tend to buy 2-3 year old Town Cars at a discount price, purchasing brand new hybrid vehicles that get 25 mpg will probably cost more per car. The city is working on a financing program that will reduce costs on the new vehicle purchases.
- The TLC board will probably vote on adopting the new “black car” rules at its meeting on April 10. It will be an open meeting where the public can attend and make comments on the proposed rule. It will also be discussed by the board at this month’s meeting on March 13.
- Corporations based in NYC have asked the TLC to adopt this as a citywide rule. They would rather this be a mandate than an issue that has to be worked out in contracts with transportation companies.
Watch for more coverage of this issue in LimoLicious, Driving Force, and a bigger story in the May issue of LCT Magazine. Are you hearing more news on this topic? Have some questions or concerns? Email LCT Managing Editor Jon LeSage at firstname.lastname@example.org, or post a comment on this site.
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