NYC TLC Commissioners Debate Taxi MPG Rule

LCT Magazine
Posted on October 22, 2008
NEW YORK CITY -- "While we are respectful of the service these two
former public servants have provided to the City, our opinions on this
matter differ greatly. We remain highly confident that
hybrid-electric taxicabs are safe for both riders and drivers, as do
their manufacturers, in the knowledge that they have been crash-tested
and meet or exceed stringent federal standards. These vehicles have
logged over 70 million nearly trouble-free miles as New York City
taxicabs since 2005 and consistently perform at or above the level of
all other taxi vehicles during frequent inspections. Safety is our
highest priority and it should not be taken lightly that these
vehicles have earned our confidence."

For more information:

NYC Taxi & Limousine Commission
40 Rector Street, 5th Floor
New York, N.Y. 10006
Contact: Allan J. Fromberg, Deputy Commissioner of Public Affairs
Tel: (212) 676-1013
Fax: (212) 676-1101
Internet: URL (Click!)

For those who missed yesterday's MTBOT Press release, here it is again:


MTBOT * October 21, 2008

NEW YORK CITY -- The immediate past Chair of the New York City Taxi
and Limousine Commission (TLC) Diane McKechnie and her predecessor,
former TLC Chair Christopher R. Lynn, have called upon a federal court
to strike down the City's controversial 25/30 mpg, or "hybrid taxi"
mandate. Ms. McKechnie and Mr. Lynn are the latest in a long list of
taxi industry leaders, automotive safety experts and others that have
supported the Metropolitan Taxicab Board of Trade's lawsuit against
the TLC and the City of New York now being considered in federal court.

"Passenger's safety will be endangered by these small hybrids because
passengers are much more likely to hit the partition in an accident in
small cars," writes Diane McKechnie, who served as the City's first
TLC Chairwoman under Mayor Giuliani for five years between 1996 and
2001. She further noted, "the fact that these small hybrids meet or
exceed federal safety standards for private, passenger vehicles is not
a sufficient reason to approve these vehicles."

Furthermore, Ms. McKechnie warns that "these hybrid vehicles will not
provide sufficient space for passengers, particularly because the
partition reduces the space in the already small back seat. This will
be a tremendous inconvenience for passengers, particularly larger
passengers, those with disabilities and those with lots of luggage."

Christopher R. Lynn, who served as Chairman of the TLC immediately
prior to Ms. McKechnie, wrote "I am opposed to the TLC's current 25/30
mpg mandate due to concerns regarding safety, availability, cost and
comfort." He stated that the mandate "has not been properly thought
out" and charged that the TLC "ignored passenger comfort"
"availability concerns" and other concerns.

Mr. Lynn further wrote, "I am particularly concerned that the
TLC-approved hybrids are untested passengers vehicles that are not
purpose-built for commercial taxi use." He noted "due to their small
size, passengers will be more likely to hit the partition in
accidents" and urged the city to "continue to work with automakers to
design a purpose-built taxi that is also fuel efficient."

In total, 15 declarations have been submitted to the United Stated
District Court Southern District of New York in support of
Metropolitan Taxicab Board of Trade's lawsuit including Alfred
LaGasse, the CEO of the Taxicab, Limousine & Paratransit Association,
a non-profit national trade organization; Vincent Sapone, Managing
Director of the League of Mutual Taxi Owners, New York's largest
driver/owner association; Louis Jiminez, the President of the Taxicab
Service Association which represents the largest taxi financial
institutions; C. Bruce Gambardella, a professional engineer and
automotive safety expert; and several dismayed operators of nearly 200
hybrid taxis that have been forced to speak out against hybrids based
on their experiences. The Committee for Taxi Safety, another leading
taxi trade association, also provided a statement in support.

MTBOT is the country's largest taxi fleet association. It represents
27 yellow medallion taxi fleets in New York City and over 3,500
medallion taxicabs, approximately 25% of the taxi industry. MTBOT
members have operated more than 30 different vehicles over several
decades including minivans, Compressed Natural Gas vehicles and
hybrids. MTBOT advocates on behalf of its members, its 14,000 drivers
and the riding public.

For more information:
Metropolitan Taxicab Board of Trade
24-16 Queens Plaza South
Long Island City, N.Y. 11101
Contact: Michael Woloz
Tel: (212) 437-7373

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