TITLE OF BILL: An act establishing the "COVID-19 livery vehicle
recovery act"
Enacts the "COVID-19 for-hire vehicle recovery act" to require the any
entity that issues for-hire vehicle ("FHV") licenses, including the NYC
Taxi and Limousine Commission, to allow the for-hire vehicle industry to
recover from the devastating economic effects of COVID-19 by allowing
for-hire vehicle owners an open window to renew for-hire vehicle
licenses which expired during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Section 1 of the bill is the short title.
Section 2 of the bill requires any entity that issues for-hire vehicle
licenses to, for a minimum of one year upon the effective date of this
act, allow at no penalty the renewal of for-hire vehicle licenses which
expired during the COVID-19 pandemic, under the same vehicle type
requirement that existed at the time of expiration unless the for-hire
vehicle owner opts to renew at the current requirement.
Section 3 of the bill defines "the COVID-19 pandemic" as having begun
upon the issuance of Executive Order 202 on March 7, 2020, and having
ended upon the expiration of Executive Order 11 after September 12,
Section 4 of the bill provides definitions.
Section 5 of the bill sets forth the effective date.
In 2018, New York City enacted a 12-month moratorium (the "cap") (LL
144-B of 2018) on issuing new For-hire Vehicle ("FHV") licenses. The cap
was placed to fight congestion exacerbated by the rapid expansion of
Uber, Lyft, and alike, which flooded over 100,000 Black Car-affiliated
FHVs onto the City streets between 2011 and 2018. Unfortunately, the
cap was imposed on all FHV sectors, despite the smaller sectors such as
livery (which serves upper Manhattan and the outer boroughs) despite not
having been a driver of congestion. For example there were approximately
14,000 Livery Cars in 2018. With the expiration of the 12-month morato-
rium, the Taxi & Limousine Commission ("TLC"), pursuant to its own regu-
latory authority, has continued to extend the embargo on issuing new FHV
Subsequently, with the onset of COVID-19 and the economic shutdown that
ensued, the demand for FHV transportation plummeted, causing many FHV
drivers to leave the industry and let their licenses lapse. Livery, the
lowest-profit sector in the FHV industry due to its affordability, was
the most severely impacted by the crash in demand, contracting from
about 12,000 livery-affiliated FHVs in the beginning of 2020 (pre-COVID)
to less than 6,000 livery-affiliated FHVs in 2022.
As the pandemic has eased and passenger demand has returned, FHV bases
are finding themselves unable to answer the increased demand and are
often forced to leave passengers stranded after they have made a reser-
vation. Most other businesses are able to answer increased and/or
returning demand to pre-COVID levels by hiring more employees, extending
opening hours, etc. However, lapsed FHV drivers are precluded from
returning to service by the TLC's regulatory embargo on new licenses.
This places a disproportionate harm on small FHV bases and FHV drivers,
leaving these fragile local businesses in the economically perilous
condition of collapsing.
Thus, the smaller FHV sectors such as livery have been injured by the
TLC cap twice. For example, the livery sector lost approximately 2,000
FHV licenses (dropping from 14,000 in 2018 to 12,000 in 2020) due to the
imposition of the global embargo on new FHV licenses, and subsequently
by losing 6,000 more FHV licenses (dropping from 12,000 in 2020 to 6,000
in 2020) directly due to the pandemic. By lumping FHV licenses lost due
to normal attrition with FHV licenses lost due to the pandemic under the
same moratorium, the TLC is exacerbating the damage caused by COVID-19,
by failing to provide lapsed FHV owners the opportunity to return to
service to answer renewed demand.
The public policy of the State of New York has been to assist businesses
to recover from COVID-19. And NYC has instituted policies designed to
aid other industries and sectors (including yellow taxicabs) as demand
for their products and services return. The purpose of this legislation
is likewise to place the livery sector back in the status quo ante with
its position prior to the COVID-19 pandemic's negative impact on the
industry, by allowing FHV owners with lapsed TLC licenses a one-time
open window to renew their previous license at no penalty. This limited
and just remedy would provide much needed relief to FHV drivers and
drivers without significantly reworking the TLC's overall policies to
limit high-volume FHV services.
2022 - S.8883/A.10441
This act shall take effect on the sixtieth day after it shall have
become a law.