TARRYTOWN, N.Y. Two representatives from the Westchester County Taxi and Limousine Commission say it would be a win-win situation if Tarrytown turned over its taxi driver licensing program to the county . One Tarrytown taxi driver disagrees.
Barbara Monohan and Thomas Riccio met with the Tarrytown Board of Trustees on Wednesday night to discuss the issue. They argued that turning over operations to the county would remove liability from the village and give taxi drivers more job opportunities.
If you license your drivers and in your village code you talk about anything and you don't do it: you're liable, Monohan said. Monohan is the chairperson and CEO of the taxi and limousine commission. If you have a taxi driver that's on drugs and gets into an accident, who's going to get sued? It's going to be the village.
All TLC-registered drivers have their fingerprints, motor vehicle record and insurance record checked, Monohan said. Drivers are also required to undergo drug testing once a year and take a defensive driving class every three years, Monohan said. If a driver is arrested, they get notification from the state, Riccio said.
From the village's perspective, Mayor Drew Fixell said having the TLC license drivers was a good idea.
There seems to be very little reasons that we shouldn't do it if only for the liability, Fixell said.
Drivers also benefit from the arrangement, Monohan said: with a TLC license, they are able to work in any of the eight villages that license their drivers through the TLC. They are also able to work for any limousine and livery company in Westchester County. Riccio said the program has been very successful, particularly for Port Chester.
It's been a win-win for both the drivers of the companies and the village, Riccio said.
However, Tarrytown taxi driver Felix Lantigun does not think it would be a benefit. He said turning over the licensing to the TLC would not be beneficial.
Lantigun pointed out during Wednesday's meeting that his taxis have a TX plate, meaning that they can only pick up fares in villages where the taxi cab itself has been registered. So although he could theoretically benefit from a TLC license, he'd still have to register his cab in the other villages.
Cost was a major issue for Lantigun, who also cited the county's higher fee for a license. Tarrytown charges $175 for three years. The county charges $135 for one year. Registering his cab in other villages would also cost him more money, Lantigun said.
Fixell noted Lantigun's concerns and also pointed out that if the village kept its licensing program, the fees would probably go up anyway.
The public hearing on this issue will continue Monday at the Board of Trustees' regular meeting. Fixell said there would most likely be a vote at that time.
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