The city is cracking down on unlicensed taxis, seizing dozens of cabs each day in an effort to protect passengers from price gouging and preserve licensed drivers’ jobs, but a significant problem has emerged.
There’s no place to put them.
The Taxi and Limousine Commission has had to store the seized cars at its safety and emissions center in Queens because of overcrowding at city tow lots. But officials inspect as many as 500 taxis at the site on a daily basis, which severely limits the space enforcement officers have to stow unlicensed vehicles, according to The New York Times.
That means the city doesn’t tow as many unlicensed cabs as it would like.
“We would seize more,” TLC Chairman David Yassky told the Times. “Day to day, when they are out doing their deployments, their instructions for the mission depend on how much space they have.”
Enforcement officers picked up nearly 70 unlicensed cars attempting to do business at area airports, clubs and malls between Friday afternoon and Monday, the Times reported. The city only had room for four of the weekend seizures in its tow lots, so the TLC had to cram the rest into its already-crowded inspection site lot in Woodside.
A deputy who helps run the inspection process told the Times he hoped the seized cars would be retrieved by Tuesday to make room for licensed cabs due for inspection.
Critics argue the agency’s stepped-up enforcement may target livery drivers who pick up illicit street fares rather than focus on drivers with no licenses at all, but Yassky says the goal is to protect passengers from all types of unauthorized drivers, according to the Times. By keeping them all off the street, hopefully the space problems will resolve themselves in time.
“The job will still be enormous,” Yassky told the paper. “But at that point, it will be manageable.”
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