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If you give, you should get. And if you get, you should give. That’s the most basic definition of reciprocity, the term used to describe the standing agreement that allows limousine companies licensed in one area to operate in a limited way in another area.
Although “reciprocity” isn’t a very sexy term, it is an important standard. Throughout history, reciprocity has been an organizing force for society. We band together in groups with those we have mutually beneficial relationships with. Reciprocity leads to social cohesion. It keeps the peace.
I’ve got the first round, if you’ve got the second. Isn’t reciprocity great?
When it comes to business and interstate commerce, the same principles apply. Reciprocity in the limousine industry is possible because of federal and state laws which have helped eliminate (in part, at least) a tribal mentality between states and between municipalities.
But recently, the basic principle of reciprocity — and the laws mandating it — have come under fire in the New York City metropolitan area. Specifically, the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission has been seizing vehicles of operators in New Jersey, as well as those in Nassau and Suffolk Counties, based on what many say are unfounded claims of illegal point-to-point service within New York City. It’s been a point of focus for both the Limousine Associations of New Jersey (LANJ) and the Long Island Limousine Association (LILA).
In 2002, President Bush signed The Real Interstate Drivers’ Equity Act (RIDE) into law, establishing interstate reciprocity. The RIDE Act prohibits a state or licensing jurisdiction, other than the home licensing state or jurisdiction, from enacting or enforcing any law, rule or regulation requiring a license or fee on a motor vehicle that is providing pre-arranged interstate ground transportation service, as long as it meets certain requirements.
In basic terms, a New Jersey company can legally make trips across the border into New York City, without having to register with the NYCTLC, as long as it doesn’t conduct point-to-point trips within New York City. The victory for the industry was that operators were protected from many of the unreasonable fees and levies which airports and regulatory agencies try to assess.
Similar agreements exist between municipalities or licensing jurisdictions within states. New York’s Vehicle and Traffic Law Section 498 established reciprocity for inter-jurisdictional trips.