Livery drivers protest against TLC for ‘unnecessary’ fines

Posted: Updated:

Livery drivers are protesting against the agency watching over them, saying the city's Taxi and Limousine Commission has been fining them for no reason.

Over 25 union groups gathered Wednesday along East 149 Street and Trinity Avenue to protest in unity.

The protest revolves around the city’s Taxi and Limousine Commission. The agency is being accused of targeting drivers for unnecessary reasons and taking advantage of them.

Union leaders say agents are pretending to hail a cab and once the driver stops they're fined.

Under TLC rules, it’s illegal for livery drivers to pick up anyone flagging down a cab. If drivers do so, they risk a $200 ticket and a possible license suspension. News 12 is told some drivers have racked up to $25,000 in fines.

Drivers News 12 spoke with say they have been asking the TLC to change the rule for years, adding it's becoming harder and harder for independent drivers to find fares, making it nearly impossible to make a living without getting at least seven riders a day.

The livery drivers say they plan to drive down to 193rd Street and Amsterdam Avenue in Manhattan in hope of getting the TLC to listen.

Not only do they want the TLC to make it legal to pick up street hails. They're also looking for better pay on their terms.

A spokesperson from TLC said in a statement, "It’s absolutely true that illegal, unlicensed drivers are being summonsed for illegal pick-up. I understand that’s frustrating for drivers who can’t legally obtain a license for various reasons of their own, but these are very smart laws put in place by both State and City legislation to protect public safety, and our lawmakers have given the TLC the responsibility of enforcing them to protect the riding public and both drivers and legitimate, licensed operators. The vehicles we’re talking about are generally not insured for for-hire use, meaning that passengers have no protection in the instance of a crash, they aren’t inspected by the TLC for safety, and they are driven by people who have not been background-checked or drug-tested by the TLC."

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