New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission
Law enforcement patch
|Formed||March 2, 1971|
|Jurisdiction||New York City|
|Headquarters||33 Beaver Street, |
New York, NY
|Annual budget||$68.8 million (2016)|
The New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission (NYC TLC) is an agency of the New York City government that licenses and regulates the medallion taxis and for-hire vehicle industries, including app-based companies. The TLC's regulatory landscape includes medallion (yellow) taxicabs, green or Boro taxicabs, black cars (including both traditional and app-based services), community-based livery cars, commuter vans, paratransit vehicles (ambulettes), and some luxury limousines.
The TLC chair, Meera Joshi, presides over the agency's board of nine commissioners during regularly scheduled public Commission meetings. Eight of the commissioners are unsalaried and appointed by the Mayor, with the advice and consent of the City Council. Five of the commissioners – one seat for each borough—are recommended for appointment by a majority vote of the councilmembers within each borough. Commissioners serve a seven-year term. The agency's regulations are compiled in title 35 of the New York City Rules.
The TLC chair, who is salaried, also heads the agency, which has a staff of about 600 employees. The agency's divisions and bureas include Uniformed Services, Licensing, Legal, Policy, Public Affairs, Safety & Emissions, among others. The Uniformed Services Bureau has more than 200 inspectors.
As the regulator, the TLC establishes the larger public transportation policy that governs taxi and for-hire transportation services in New York City. The agency's responsibilities include protecting public safety and consumer rights, issuing and regulating licenses, setting and enforcing the fare rate in taxis, limiting taxi lease rates, and overseeing the sale of taxi medallions.
The TLC licenses about 170,000 unique professional drivers in New York City. It is common for TLC-licensed drivers to work for several companies, as well as in different industry segments. The agency also licenses more than 100,000 vehicles, as well as over 1,000 for-hire vehicle bases, according to its 2016 annual report.
The Uniformed Services Bureau includes the Vision Zero squad, which focuses on safety-related enforcement like moving violations, which include failing to yield to pedestrians and cell phone usage while driving. Mayor Bill de Blasio's Vision Zero Action Plan is the City's initiative to end traffic fatalities, and the TLC is one of the agencies involved, along with the NYC Department of Transportation and the NYPD. The TLC is testing new vehicle safety technologies in licensed vehicles as part of a safety pilot, which began in 2015, according to the agency's website. Technologies include electronic data recorders, speed governors, and driver-alert systems. The pilot looks at how safety technologies affect driving behaviors, collision rates, the experience of drivers and passengers, and the expenses of drivers.
The city's goal is to have the Medallion Taxicab fleet reach 50% wheelchair-accessibility by 2020. The number of wheelchair-accessible taxis in New York City has tripled from 238 in 2013 to 850 taxicabs on the road in 2016. Almost 300 new wheelchair-accessible medallion taxicabs went into service in the first six months of 2016, according to TLC data.
Since September 2015, taxicab medallion owners may purchase the Taxi of Tomorrow (a Nissan NV200 Taxi), a TLC-approved wheelchair-accessible vehicle, or a hybrid vehicle. The first Taxi of Tomorrow began providing service in October 2013. Its features include a large cabin, passenger charging stations and reading lights, independent passenger climate control, yellow seatbelt straps, handles to assist stepping in and out, a clear panoramic roof, and sliding doors to prevent injuries from dooring. The NV200 taxicab is the first taxi vehicle to be equipped with Hearing Loop technology.
Controversies and criticisms
TLC inspectors may seize vehicles suspected of operating as an illegal cab, and DNAinfo reported in 2014 that the city Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings' Taxi and Limousine Tribunal dismissed 1442 of the 7187 accusations over 1.5 years. The TLC said in a statement that "while the vast majority of cases—more than 80%—are prosecuted as written, the fact that there are a certain number of cases that are dismissed means that the system works for everyone." Owners can't retrieve their impounded cars unless they plead guilty and pay a fine, or until their hearing before a city administrative judge.
In 2005, the TLC refused to allow alternative-fuel vehicles to be used as cabs, despite the New York City Council's vote to approve them. Cab operator Gene Freidman, who had purchased several hybrid vehicles after the council's ruling, sued the TLC in New York's Supreme Court. The City Council, "angered" by the TLC's defiance of its decision, passed a bill in June 2005 compelling the TLC to approve at least one alternative-fuel vehicle to be used as a taxicab. The TLC relented and approved six hybrid models to be used as cabs.
In April 2015, the TLC posted a notice in the City Record proposing the "Licensing of For-Hire Vehicle Dispatch Applications", requiring mobile app operators to apply for approval of certain changes to any app used to arrange vehicle rides for hire, widely considered to be targeted at ridesharing company Uber, causing a controversy.
In August 2018, the TLC stopped issuing new vehicle licenses for one year, in an attempt to "study the effects of ride-hail services in the city." 
Mayor John Lindsay created the TLC in 1971 to regulate the taxi and for-hire vehicle industries. Before the creation of the agency, the NYPD's "Hack Bureau" regulated the taxicab industry, starting in 1925.
The TLC has acted as a technical consultant for major TV shows and films that involved taxicab use, such as “Friends,” “Conspiracy Theory,” and the “Bone Collector.”
The TLC has a Driver Safety Honor Roll, which recognizes the safest Taxi and For-Hire Vehicle drivers in New York City. Drivers on the Honor Roll have had no crashes involving fatalities or injuries, no traffic violations, and no violations of TLC safety-related rules for five years or more.
- Taxicabs of New York City
- New York City Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings (OATH), for hearings conducted on summonses for TLC rules and regulations violations
- New York City Charter § 2300; "There shall be a New York city taxi and limousine commission[...]"
- 2016 TLC Fact Book http://www.nyc.gov/html/tlc/downloads/pdf/2016_tlc_factbook.pdf
- "About TLC". New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission. Retrieved 15 May 2015.
- "THE RULES OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK". library.amlegal.com. American Legal Publishing - Online Library. 2017-11-12. Retrieved 2017-11-14.
- "2016 Annual Report" (PDF). New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission. 2016. p. 3. Retrieved 2017-11-14.
- "TLC Enforcement - Initiatives - Vision Zero". www.nyc.gov. Retrieved 2017-11-14.
- Donohue, Pete (December 6, 2013). "50% of cabs wheelchair accessible by 2020". NY Daily News. Retrieved 2017-11-14.
- "Taxi of Tomorrow will feature induction loops for the hard of hearing". Hearing News Watch. 2012-04-07. Retrieved 2017-11-14.
- Fanelli, James; Goldensohn, Rosa; Solis, Gustavo (July 21, 2014). "TLC Wrongly Accused Hundreds of Being Illegal Cabbies in Past Year". DNAinfo. Archived from the original on October 2, 2016.
- Fanelli, James (June 16, 2014). "Turkish Man Accused of Being Illegal Hack After Driving White Pals, He Says". DNAinfo. Archived from the original on November 14, 2016.
- Chan, Sewell (4 November 2005). "On the Street: Cleaner-Running Cabs". The New York Times. Retrieved 22 August 2017.
- Flegenheimer, Matt (13 May 2015). "Uber and Internet Giants Assail New York City's Plan to Bolster Rules for Car-Hire Apps". The New York Times.
- City Rec, Apr. 24, 2015 at 1627
- Taxi! A Social History of the New York City Cab Driver by Graham Russell Gao Hodges
- "NYC Taxi & Limousine Commission". www.nyc.gov. Retrieved 2017-11-14.
- "Taxicab Factbook 2014" (PDF). nyc.gov. Retrieved 2015-11-14.