In September, T.A. and taxicab industry representatives met to discuss working together to make cabbies safer drivers. The meeting was long overdue, and it emphasized that the highly regulated taxi industry shares many safety concerns with T.A. The Taxi and Limousine Commission-the city agency that regulates everything from taxi fares to cab drivers to taxi design to safety measures like dooring awareness stickers-will hopefully heed the combined call of taxi company owners and street safety advocates.
Currently, the taxi industry would like to see a host of Taxi Commission measures that would result in better cab drivers and safer vehicles. Currently, prospective taxi drivers must wait six to eight weeks before they receive a hack license from the Taxi and Limousine Commission. Cab industry experts, including those with no financial interest in the industry, believe this discourages many qualified drivers, who are able to get other work before they receive their licenses. T.A. agrees that shortening the waiting time would attract safer drivers.
This fall, taxi companies began testing TaxiTV-a flat screen video system that provides cab passengers with news and entertainment. One message being tested includes a prominent advertisement for passengers to check for cyclists before opening their doors. Once in widespread service, the screens will be a valuable safety education tool. In the meantime, the Taxi Commission should approve T.A.'s proposed "Check for Cyclists!" and "The speed limit in NYC is 30 mph. Obey it!" passenger education stickers. Taxi industry representatives support the proposals and are ready to implement them. But, the Taxi Commission has been slow to approve them.
Cooperation with the taxicab industry has barely begun and we look forward to creating the safest possible taxi drivers and cabs in New York City.
Write Taxi and Limousine Commissioner Matthew Daus and urge the Taxi Commission to adopt the "Check for Cyclists!" and "The speed limit in NYC is 30 mph. Obey it!" stickers: 40 Rector Street, 5th Floor, NYC 10006.
The city's 12,000 cabs set the pace on NYC's streets. In August, the Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) adopted bicycle and pedestrian safety points and questions that T.A. recommended for the Taxi Driver Training School and the taxi driver test. Though all cabbies must have a New York State driver's license, the state Driver's Manual devotes only three of its 104 pages to pedestrian and bicycle safety. The taxi exam is the only time cab drivers are questioned specifically about bicycle and pedestrian safety.
TLC's new safety points for taxicab drivers: