New York initiates plan to counter taxi strike
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, along with the city’s Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) and Police Department, have initiated a plan to deal with a strike by many of the city’s taxi drivers. The strike began Wednesday to protest the city’s requirement to install GPS systems in all taxis.
The city’s plan initiates a zone-based fare system to allow group rides for a flat rate in certain zones within the city and from LaGuardia and Kennedy airports. Under the plan, riders pay a flat $10 per person to travel within a zone, such as Manhattan south of 23rd Street, and $5 per person for any other zone they pass through or enter.
The city also increased the number of police officers, some in plain clothes, at transportation hubs and taxi garages and even in taxis, to protect non-striking drivers from being intimidated. “We will not tolerate drivers who want to disrupt this city intimidating or threatening their fellow drivers who are interested in making a living and providing a service to New Yorkers,” Bloomberg said in a statement. The entire plan is available at www.nyc.gov.
The New York Taxi Workers Alliance (NYTWA) called for the strike, which continued on Thursday, saying the GPS plan would cost drivers $5,400 to install and $175 a month to maintain, and is too intrusive. “GPS will automatically tell the TLC where you were at what time, how many fares/trips per shift, and when you’re off duty and how much money you’ve made,” NYTWA said in an announcement of the strike available at www.nytwa.org.
TLC Commissioner/Chairman Matthew Daus said in his online column that the GPS systems would provide passengers with information and maps of the city. They would not be used to track drivers, Daus says, and while the initial cost of the system is between $2,400 and $5,200, there is no additional monthly maintenance cost. Read Daus’ entire column.