Commissioner Daus on the NYC Black Car Lawsuit

LCT Magazine
Posted on October 27, 2008

Commissioner’s Corner

By Matthew W. Daus

I would be remiss if I did not touch upon the challenging economic times we are currently facing.  While I do not believe that anyone or any industry will be immune to the downturn, I do believe that we can benefit from some of the positive lessons of history.  To look back for a healthy dose of confidence, one need only look at the black car industry, which has not only repeatedly survived difficult economic times, but went on to prosper robustly in the aftermath.  The medallion taxi industry has been similarly resilient, coming back to almost full strength within two months of 9/11.  Back to the present, I know that the fairly steep drops we have seen in the price of gas in recent months have been helpful, perhaps acting as something of an economic buffer for our regulated industries.  I am hopeful that our industries will continue to be positioned well during these potentially difficult times to come.  It goes without saying, however, that we will continue to monitor conditions carefully. 

As many of our readers by now already know, there is a pending legal challenge to the TLC’s 25 MPG rules, which went into effect on October 1.  Although we did allow a small number of retirement-age vehicles to remain on the road during the proceedings, I continue to encourage our medallion owners to keep “going green” by voluntarily placing hybrids on the road sooner rather then later so that drivers can obtain the economic benefits of gas savings as well.  While there is nothing conclusive that I can say at the moment with regard to the suit itself, I do want to share a message with the men and women who drive taxicabs, much as I have shared this message with the riding public: you may drive these vehicles with the assurances of the TLC and their manufacturers that they are safe.   In fact, one very obvious indicator that a company disapproves of the way in which their vehicles are being used is for them to void its warranty.  Not a SINGLE warranty for any vehicle approved for use as a New York City taxicab has been voided.

I am pleased to report that the Ford Motor Company in particular has made it abundantly clear that they are entirely comfortable with the use of its Escape hybrid model as a New York City taxicab.  So again, you can rest assured that the hybrid vehicles you are driving today or will be driving in the future are safe for both you and your passengers.  So while you are helping the city to “go green,” enjoy the extra green that will be in your pockets as well! 

Source: NYC TLC

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