Regulations

New York Operators Dismayed Over New TNC Law

Tom Halligan
Posted on April 19, 2017

TNCs now can legally traverse upstate New York, including the bucolic Finger Lakes region pictured here (photo by Sue Reynolds via Flickr.com CC license)
TNCs now can legally traverse upstate New York, including the bucolic Finger Lakes region pictured here (photo by Sue Reynolds via Flickr.com CC license)
ALBANY, N.Y. — TNCs can now legally operator throughout New York thanks to a law that was included in the 2018 state budget signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo Monday, April 10. The new law gives the green light for TNCs to operate especially in upstate New York cities such as Syracuse, Buffalo, Albany and Rochester. TNCs operate legally in New York City under the licensing authority of the city’s taxi commission. Although the new law allows TNCs to expand throughout the state, municipalities still retain an “opt-out” provision that allows them to outlaw TNCs within their boundaries.

The new TNC law requires higher insurance as well as background checks, but not fingerprinting.

“We’re not happy that they didn’t address fingerprinting or ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) issues,” said Kevin Barwell (Giorgio’s Limousine Service, Park Place Transportation, and Chautauqua Limousine Service, serving upstate New York), president of the Limousine, Bus & Taxi Operators of Upstate New York (LBTOUNY). “New York State fails at being proactive and protecting its citizens …always a double standard in this state that make it very difficult to operate successfully,” he added

Barwell said the association will continue to work with upstate cities and towns to strengthen TNC regulations as well as stricter background checks that include fingerprinting.

Added Bill Goerl, (Clique Limousine Service, Oakdale, Long Island), president of the Long Island Limousine Association), “As expected Albany addressed the concerns of Nassau, Suffolk and Westchester Counties which already have a Taxi and Limousine Commission in place to opt out of  Governor Cuomo’s new TNC law. The unexpected turn is that it’s not quite that easy to ‘opt out’ because each county of more than 100,000 residents decides to “kick out” TNC’s must pass a local law to do so.”

Goerl noted that the law “clearly gives TNC’s the upper hand” because TNC drivers will only need one state license which covers them through every county except New York City.

“Even in New York City, they can still drop off, just not pick-up. We need to pay $250 per vehicle for a TLC (Taxi Limousine Commission) license for each county we do business in; TNC’s will be exempt from these TLC fees," Goerl said. "They will also have a pricing advantage as they only collect 4% state sales tax, and we collect 8.65% sales tax. The TNC drivers will also not need to be fingerprinted as our chauffeurs do," he added.

Goerl expects many new TNC operators to get the state license and “flood our counties,” adding, “Our local legislators and the TLC are working on passing the law to opt out, but how quickly they can accomplish this, and if they can get the public backing to accomplish this, is the next unanswered question.”

LILA Board of Director and National Limousine Association Board of Director Doug Schwartz (Executive Limousine, Bellmore, Long Island) said, “We are disappointed that New York State does not see the value of thorough and complete background checks. There is nothing more important than safety of our passengers."

Related Topics: Bill Goerl, doug Schwartz, Kevin Barwell, LBTOUNY, LILA, long island limousine association, New York, New York City, New York operators, regulatory enforcement, state regulations, TNCs

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