July/August 1994, p.2

Running Amok
City Council Comatose On Taxi Safety

Citizens hoping for some relief from crazed cabbies will have to look somewhere other than the NYC City Council. In late May, the Council's Transportation Committee spent over two hours, supposedly dedicated to oversight of the Taxi and limousine Commission (TLC), to a fatuous debate over whether TLC inspectors should be armed. This occurred a scant two weeks after New York Newsday thoroughly documented the TLC's systematic failure to purge dangerous cabbies.

In 1993, the TLC revoked only 18 of 40,000 taxi licenses. Some observers feel that the Mayor, Council, and TLC are not serious about making taxis safer. They hold that the politicians and TLC are in thrall of the big money cab fleet owners and medallion leasing companies who are major political operators and donors.

Ending the taxi reign of terror on NYC streets will probably require a radical transformation in the economics of the industry. Desperate, frustrated drivers-like the ones that now leave the garage owing over $100 per shift to leasing companies-are inherently dangerous to pedestrians and cyclists. They are under brutal pressure to drive like maniacs just to end the day ahead. With yellow cabs making over 400,000 trips in Manhattan every day, that1 s a lot of danger and frustration to avoid.

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