Operations

Fugitaboutit! Operators Deal With NYC Traffic Woes

Tom Halligan
Posted on May 24, 2017
50,000 TNCs now roam New York City streets and highways.Photo Source: Pixabay, Creative Commons license
50,000 TNCs now roam New York City streets and highways.Photo Source: Pixabay, Creative Commons license

NEW YORK —Traffic congestion in Manhattan, surrounding boroughs, and bordering states have always been a struggle for limousine operators to get from point A to point B on time. In terms of the worst traffic among U.S. big cities, New York ranks second behind Los Angeles. However, LA’s renowned traffic congestion is more spread out via its extensive freeway systems compared to the compact city streets, tunnels, and bridges of Manhattan and outer boroughs.

Compounding the situation, there are an estimated 50,000 licensed TNC cars that now prowl city streets. To put New York’s TNCs impact into perspective, over the last three years, those additional TNC vehicles have racked up over half a billion miles of driving throughout the city, adding to traffic woes and contributing to frequent gridlock situation according to a Feb 27, 2017 report, “Unsustainable? The Growth of App-Based Ride Services and Traffic, Travel and the Future of New York City,” conducted by Schaller Consulting, Brooklyn, N.Y. In fact, the survey points out TNCs transported 15 million passengers per month in 2016 — nearly as many trips as served by the city’s 43,000 yellow cabs.

Further, the situation could get worse due to legislation signed into law April 10 that now allows TNCs to operate legally and freely throughout the state. Previously, only New York City allowed registered TNCs to operate within city limits.

In addition, TNCs have become the leading source of growth in non-(personal) auto travel in the city displacing the transit-oriented growth of the 1990’s through 2014. In short, people are opting to take a TNC rather than the subway or bus, creating a trifecta of increased congestion, more vehicle emissions, and traffic safety…the side effects the city and other major urban areas will have to deal with the surge of TNCs.

Operators who work Manhattan and the region are resigned to the fact that clogged highways, streets, bridges, and tunnels are a way of life. “I can’t say I notice a difference one way or the other with additional TNC cars, but in this region, weather and public transportation disruptions cause the most problems,” commented Scott Greenwald, general manager and partner of AAA Worldwide Transportation in Clifton, N.J.

Rail delays have become commonplace for commuters, forcing them to drive as Amtrak, New Jersey Transit, and the Long Island Rail Road are constantly trying to maintain an aging rail system in need of major repairs and upgrades. “You can feel the pain on the highways when Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor line is having issues,” noted Greenwald.

Always resourceful to make sure they serve their clients regardless of traffic, New York regional operators always have a Plan B in place. “The obvious is to allow plenty of time for a pick up and if there is a problem, you need to rely on a strong network of partners that can help you out in a pinch,” explained Greenwald. He added during peak times he may stage chauffeurs at various locations during as backups.

Of course, wheeling and dealing with traffic has always been part of the deal for New York City regional operators. “Traffic is traffic,” said Charlie Gandolfo, president of Long Island-based Dynasty Limousine. “Some days it can take an hour to get to Manhattan and other days two to three hours,” he said, adding dispatchers and chauffeurs always look to cut down on time by taking a different route or a tunnel that maybe knocks off five to ten minutes, but “it is what it is—you just have to deal with it.”

Related Topics: new jersey, New Jersey operators, New York, New York City, New York operators, regulatory enforcement, TNCs, traffic assessment, traffic jams

Comments ( 1 )
  • Jose Luna

     | about 2 years ago

    Add to this the fact that every bridge and tunnel are under construction and road repaving is going on everywhere. What used to take 45 minutes to and hour to get from NYC to JFK is now taking from 2 to 3 hours depending on the day and time.

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