What started out as a one-and-a-half page introduction attempting to limit the proliferation of for-hire vehicle bases has turned into a 10-page law defining certain segments of the for-hire industry and redefining others. The limousine and black car segments of the industry campaigned vigorously for the defining aspects of the law, enabling their exemption from other aspects of the law.
For the first time in the history of New York City, the black car industry was clearly defined and the limousine industry was redefined.
“Many issues came into place adversely affecting the limousine and black car industries,” says Victor Dizengoff, executive director of the Black Car Assistance Corporation. “In order to exempt these industries from these aspects of the law, a clear definition had to be written into the law. Within the context of that definition, the limousine and black car industries are exempt from that law. We fought long and hard for these definitions. It was a positive move for both industries.”
The following are industry definitions under the new law:
- “Affiliated vehicle” means a for- hire vehicle other than a black car or a luxury limousine which a base station is authorized by the commission to dispatch.
- “Base station” means a central facility which manages, organizes, or dispatches affiliated vehicles licensed under this chapter, not including luxury limousines or black cars.
- “Luxury limousine” means a for- hire vehicle which is dispatched from a central facility. The limousine has been certified to the satisfaction of the commission that more than 90 percent of its for-hire business is on a payment basis other than direct cash payment by a passenger. There must be maintained personal injury insurance coverage of no less than $500,000 per accident where one person is injured and $1 million per accident for all persons injured in that same accident. Passengers are charged on the basis of garage to garage service and only on a flat rate basis or per unit of time.
- “Black car” means a for-hire vehicle dispatched from a central facility whose owner holds a franchise from the corporation or other business entity which operates such central facility, or is a member of a cooperative that operates such central facility, where such central facility has certified to the satisfaction of the commission that more than 90 percent of the central facility’s for-hire business is on a payment basis other than direct cash payment by a passenger.
- “Wheelchair accessible vehicle” means a for-hire vehicle which is designed for the purpose of transporting persons in wheelchairs or containing any physical device or alteration designed to permit access to and enable the transportation of persons in wheelchairs.