The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, backed by two new laws and an anti-hustling program, have been aggressively working to reduce the number of illegal transportation operators and improve airport environments and customer service and safety.
Under the new laws, illegal transportation operators face minimum fines of $100 in New York and $500 in New Jersey for a first offense. In each state, subsequent convictions could gamer a fine as high as $ 1,500, or jail sentences.
"We're trying to make [the fines] more than just the cost of doing business," says Fred Baer, manager of the Offices of Ground Transportation for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. "These laws specifically cite solicitation of ground transportation service at the airport as its own separate offense, whereas before we would have to use other offenses and make them lit. Now, we feel we have a much better weapon for lighting the problem."
Since the implementation of the new laws, officials report over 600 arrests have been made at the three major airports — LaGuardia, Kennedy, and Newark.
George J. Marlin, the Port Authority executive director, notes that it is important to make airports sale for travelers. Eliminating transportation hustlers is vital to making a visitor's first impression a positive one.
The Port Authority also works towards educating visitors before they are approached by illegal ground transportation hustlers. Inflight videos containing information about the airport and its legitimate services arc regularly shown on international flights, and a video for domestic flights has also been produced.
A popular poster campaign has effectively worked to make visitors aware of illegal transportation hustlers. "An indication that these posters are working is that they're always being torn down," says Baer.
According to Baer, a number of posters have been used, but the current version has had the most impact. They are placed in various locations throughout the airport, including the bathrooms, which has proven to be one of the most effective spots. Other airports have requested copies of the poster to assist in their own efforts.
"We know the problem persists, but there are indications that activity is down," says Baer. "We try to educate visitors while they are in the air and on the ground. We do see lots of people walking past the hustlers and ignoring them."
A popular poster campaign has been effective in making visitors aware of illegal transportation hustlers. “An indication that these posters are working is that they’re always being torn down.” Say Fred Baer, manager of the Offices of the Ground Transportation for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
|Anti-Hustling Legislation in New York & New Jersey
|3rd and subsequent offenses
||license suspension for 60 days on second offense; misdemeanor on 3rd offense