Operations

Westchester County Giving the Boot to Illegal Operators

LCT Staff
Posted on March 14, 2007

WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. — The threat of the boot has turned some illegal limousine and party bus owners into law abiders in just two months, and Westchester County has collected $14,075 in unpaid fines. The cash came in after the county gave the boot to four limousine companies and threatened to lock up the limos, stretch Hummers, and party buses of another four.

Westchester warned for-hire car owners in January and then started booting the vehicles of those last month that had more than five tickets or $1,000 in unpaid fines. The fines were for not registering with the county's Taxi and Limousine Commission. Westchester has this new power because of a boot law that took effect at the end of last year, which requires giving the owners 30 days' notice.

"Safety-wise and money-wise, it's going to be wonderful,' said TLC chairwoman Barbara Monohan, who said one limousine company owner rushed over to pay his fines so he could avoid the boot. "To register, they have to comply with safety criteria for the driver and the vehicle.' Another 40 companies could find their vehicles booted because they owe more than $60,000 in overdue fines.

Named for its shape, the boot is a metal device that locks onto a front wheel, immobilizing a vehicle until the owner pays up. When these fines are paid, the owners also must prove they have adequate insurance coverage, that their vehicles are mechanically safe, and that their drivers are properly licensed, Monohan said.

In a related story in the city of White Plains, two limousine drivers and a taxi driver were arrested during an undercover sting by White Plains police, accused of operating without a city taxi license. "We get complaints from local companies who say drivers from out of town services sometimes come here and pick up local fares without having a White Plains license" said Deputy Public Safety Commissioner Daniel Jackson. "In this case, we found a service located in White Plains that was not licensed."

Cops in plain clothes called two companies and asked for rides from different points in the city to White Plains Hospital Center. The drivers were arrested after it was determined that they did not have the required city taxi license. Jackson said the license is required by drivers who pick up fares that begin and end within the city limits. All three were released on $250 bail each, and are scheduled to appear in City Court on March 21.

Source: The Journal News (White Plains, N.Y.)

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