Sections

‘Dollar van’ crackdown coming

About to get some TLC: The Taxi and Limousine Commission plans to crack down on so-called “dollar vans” by seizing the rides from unlicensed operators and selling them at auction.
Brooklyn Daily
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They want to buck the dollar van trend.

The city is cracking down on so-called “dollar vans” operating illegally, in response to a hit-and-run near Kings Plaza that claimed a local man’s life in August. The vans operate as for-hire vehicles — usually charging $2 for rides up and down arterial roadways such as Flatbush Avenue — but many drivers are not licensed with the Taxi and Limousine Commission, which ensures they are insured and have a safe record, and now officials plan to seize and auction off vans whose drivers are busted twice for illegal operation, according to a local pol who has been pushing the new program.

“We are working on a program — looking to make sure that becomes part of the protocol for NYPD and TLC — that they can take illegal vans off the street, because the people getting on these vans have no clue that they are not insured and have no clue they are not licensed,” said state Sen. Marty Golden (R–Marine Park).

Currently, cops only issue fines when they catch unlicensed livery drivers, but that is not enough — drivers consider the penalties a cost of doing business, but the prospect of losing their wheels entirely may get more traction, according to a taxi commission spokesman.

“The disincentive is obviously huge,” said agency rep Allan Fromberg.

The city plans to start the new second-strike program within the next few months, but first offenses would still only result in a summons, he said.

Police used to seize vehicles on first offenses — sometimes before alleged offenders were even found guilty — until a judge ruled the practice unconstitutional in 2015. But the two-strike policy appears to stand on firmer legal ground, Fromberg said.

Meantime, officers from the 63rd Precinct — which encompasses Marine Park and Mill Basin — are handing out more tickets, Golden said.

“There’s been hundreds of summonses, Captain Burke [the precinct’s commander] is doing an outstanding job. The TLC is doing an outstanding job,” he said.

The pre-2015 practice of seizing vans was a major blow to drivers, and the proposed program will hit them where it hurts, one unlicensed dollar van operator said.

“It’s my personal van. It will mess me up,” said a driver at the corner of Flatbush Avenue and Avenue U who refused to give his name.

Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718) 260–4577 or by e-mail at jcuba@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.
Updated 5:59 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reader feedback

bethany from coney says:
the drivers are all illegal immigrants from haiti. auction the vehicles and use the money to deport their filthy criminal asses!!!!
Nov. 3, 2016, 10:41 am
Pedro Valdez Rivera Jr. from BS, BK, NY, US says:
These illegal commuter vans are one of the main reasons why the overall bus ridership dropped like a rock in the last decade, especially in transit deserts such as Eastern Brooklyn along Flatbush Avenue and Utica Avenue, Southeast Queens such as Merrick Blvd to the Rockaways or Green Acres, as well as the Northeastern Bronx such as right around Co-Op City.
Nov. 3, 2016, 11:39 am
Allan Rosen from SheepsheadBay says:
Another publicized crackdown for a few days and then it's business as usual for three more years until the next crackdown. Improve bus service so the vans are not necessary.

The MTA is to blame for them in the first place when they cut
B46 rush hour service from every 2 minutes to every 4 minutes in July 1975 although buses were overflowing at 2 minute headways. Their rationale was they could save more operating costs by reducing service on heavily utilized routes than on less utilized routes and stated that it won't inconvenience passengers because they will not gave to wait two more minutes for a bus.

And when the number of passengers riding severely dropped, rather than realizing their error, they reduced service even further because they said since there were fewer riders, they didn't need as many buses.
Nov. 4, 2016, 12:11 pm
Anon. from Park Slope says:
Bethany,

So every Haitian in NY is an illegal alien and a criminal? Someone should have a fund raiser to deport you to some hell hole where you won't be around other human beings ever again, you hateful ——! It must suck to be you, so hateful and ignorant!
Nov. 5, 2016, 10:10 am

Comments closed.

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