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COTA leaders and members attending the group's first-ever conference Sept. 21 include (L to R): Bill Carter, Barry Lefkowitz, executive director of LANJ, COTA President Matt Daus, Avik Kabessa of Carmel Car & Limousine, Honorable New York Public Advocate and Mayorial candidate Bill de Blasio, LANY President Jeff Rose, BCAC Chairman and Black Car News columnist Victor Dizengoff, Doug Schwartz of LILA, LANJ President Tim Rose, BCAC executive director Ira Goldstein, amd Tarek Mallah.
NEW YORK CITY — The Coalition of Transportation Associations (COTA) hosted its first regional event on Sept. 21 in Long Island City, bringing more than 200 association leaders and members from the area to a conference to discuss legislative and regulatory issues which affect all of them.
The organization was launched in November 2011 by former New York City Taxi and Limousine Commissioner Matt Daus, who is its president and a partner in the New York law firm of Windels Marx Lane & Mittendorf. He is also the president of the International Association of Transportation Regulators.
Power in numbers
“We have just given birth to a 900 pound gorilla,” Daus quipped during opening remarks. “This organization is going to be amazing. We have five ‘families’ united to fight causes. They are the Black Car Assistance Corporation, Luxury Base Operators Association, Limousine Association of New York, the Limousine Associations of New Jersey and the Long Island Limousine Association. This group has power in its numbers. For the first time, we as a whole can fight stupid public policy while also providing education to our members.”
The group was formed when area members got together to discuss a proposed change in the insurance requirements in New York City, Daus said. COTA now is currently working to eliminate the sales tax on service in New York and to address issues with the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission on inspections of new vehicles.
Daus believes the industry needs fewer regulations than other industries such as taxicabs because of the nature of limousine clients. “If your car is not the best and your service is not great, the client will fire you,” Daus said.
New York City Taxi and Limousine Commissioner David Yassky was the guest speaker for the event. He swore in the board members of the newly formed organization.
“Thank you for including me. I am thrilled and delighted that this group has organized,” Yassky said. “We want to continue to work with the industry as a partner. When you are doing well, the TLC is doing well. We will always have tons of issues, especially about apps. The only constant these days is change. We will work with the industry and the public to tackle these issues. We will work with all of the stakeholders. New York City is at the forefront for technology. . . Our rules need to be modernized. How do you integrate security and credit card security? With taxi applications, we only had one leak and it wasn’t because of the technology, but rather the processors. We take security extremely serious,” Yassky said.