At the July 31st rally, Councilmen Leroy Comrie and Jumaane Williams said they had meetings with TLC Commissioner David Yassky before the Outer Borough Hail Law was passed over a year ago.
The new law, which has yet to take effect because it is held up in court, would add new “apple green taxis” to the outer boroughs, which would likely hurt the commuter van businesses.
Commuter van drivers said TLC told them they would be grandfathered in, meaning that the existing licensed drivers would not have to pay the new $1,500 per van fee for a new license to operate.
“When the plan was in fact enacted, they found out that Commissioner Yassky kept absolutely none of his promises to the van drivers, who have been trying to make sure that they can operate legally on the streets,” said Comrie.
Another issue commuter van operators have with TLC is the lack of enforcement of unlicensed van drivers taking business away. The drivers said TLC promised it would crack down on these unlicensed vans.
“They came to us to ask us to please help get these illegal van drivers who don't have insurance off the road because they are dangerous,” Williams said.
“TLC has been doing a very good job,” said Queens driver David Clarke, “but we need more enforcement.”
“After we've been out there for 25 years, we have our own families and our own livelihood,” Said Leroy Morrison, who operates Alexis Van Lines in Brooklyn. “What is going to happen to our kids if anything should happen to us?”
TLC spokesperson Allan Fromberg said that the allegations are based on misconstrued information.
“With the utmost respect for council members Comrie and Williams, Commissioner Yassky assured the van industry leaders that they would have full opportunity to participate in the borough taxi program,” he said. “Anything beyond that was a misunderstanding.”