This spring the Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) has launched the Borough Taxi Program, a new business opportunity for owner-drivers in the car service industry. Some industry members will need small loans to purchase the equipment needed to join the Borough Taxi Program.
West Brighton Community LDC/Business Outreach Center of S.I. is a partner of the Business Outreach Center Network and offers financing opportunities through BOC Capital, Corp. You may obtain more information on financing opportunities by contacting Nina Flores, WBCLDC, Business Development Specialist at 718-816-4775.
1. Borough Taxi Program Basics
State legislation authorizes the City to license “Borough Taxis”: a new kind of for-hire vehicle that can not only pick up prearranged trips (like car services do today) but also legally pick up street hails in any of the neighborhoods yellow taxis rarely serve (i.e., Queens (excluding airports), Brooklyn, the Bronx, Staten Island and Northern Manhattan (north of E. 96th St. and W. 110th St.).
Borough Taxis will have most of the features we find in yellow taxis (distinct color and markings, metered street hail fare, roof light, GPS, credit/debit card readers) and will affiliate with a car service base that provides dispatch calls. 20% of Borough Taxi licenses will have to be used with wheelchair-accessible vehicles.
TLC will issue up to 18,000 Borough Taxis licenses, 6,000 of which may be issued in the first year of the program. The initial issuance will only be available to current car service owners and drivers who have been licensed by the TLC for one year and are in good standing. After the first 3 months of issuance, wheelchair-accessible licenses will be available to anyone meeting TLC standards.
2. Benefits to Owners/Drivers
Individuals will enter this optional program for two basic reasons:
- Revenue Opportunity: Some owner-drivers will see the program as an opportunity for increased revenue. More people will hail a Borough Taxi than would illegally hail a livery because passengers will know Borough Taxis are safe, legal and have convenient features like standard metered fares and credit card readers.
- Summons Avoidance: Some owner-drivers will enter the program to avoid summonses from TLC enforcement for illegally accepting street hails. In conjunction with this program, TLC will be stepping up enforcement against illegal street hails.
3. Costs to Owners/Drivers
- Each license sold in the first year of the program will cost $1,500 and is good for 3 years. The price increases to $3,000 in year 2 and $4,500 in year 3. The license is a transferable asset.
- The taxi-specific equipment all Borough Taxis will need will cost between $3,000 to $4,000. Installing all of this equipment is often referred to as “hack up.”
- We anticipate that most individuals entering the program will already own a vehicle and therefore will only need to pay for licensing and vehicle hack up costs.
- 20% of individuals entering the program will need to purchase a wheelchair-accessible vehicle, which will cost $35,000 to $43,000. The City has a $54 million grant program to incentivize the purchase of wheelchair-accessible vehicles to operate as a Borough Taxis.
This is information has been provided by the Business Outreach Center Network at http://www.bocnet.org . West Brighton Community LDC is a partner of BOC as, a SBA designated Women’s Business Center.