Letter Grades for Taxi and Livery Companies: TLC Commish Receptive to It

Mohammed Himon, the taxi driver who plowed onto a Midtown sidewalk and severed the leg of Sian Green, can still drive a cab in NYC. Photo: @BradJaffy

What if taxi and livery drivers in NYC received letter grades to reflect their safety records, the same way restaurants get grades from the health department? Eric McClure of Park Slope Neighbors raised the possibility at last night’s Vision Zero town hall in Park Slope, and found a receptive audience in new TLC Commissioner Meera Joshi.

Joshi was appointed earlier this month, and last night was her first appearance at a Vision Zero Q&A session. WNYC’s Kat Aaron reports that Joshi acknowledged there are problem drivers who pose a danger to other people on the street (she called them “outliers”). She also spoke positively about the potential deterrent effect of black boxes in TLC-regulated vehicles, and said TLC is working with the City Council to make it easier to suspend drivers who cause mayhem.

McClure, who helped organize the event, asked Joshi if the TLC would consider a letter grade system so customers can be informed about drivers’ safety records. It turns out that the TLC has already been discussing something along those lines. One issue is whether the grades would be assigned to individual drivers or to the company that employs them.

Doug Gordon of Brooklyn Spoke reports that Joshi said TLC is leaning toward grading the bases, not each and every driver, “since it would incentivize them to hire safer drivers and educate the ones they already have.”

  • Hilda

    I also really liked Eric’s comment, “Get in the cab and state upfront, ‘I tip based on safe driving.” I would then add, “And I really want to be able to tip you!” Don’t even be timid about what this means, safe speeds (name the speed), yielding to pedestrians and giving space to cyclists.
    I have asked drivers to slow down, and most of the time, they are glad to accommodate. One even said back, “I prefer to drive this way!”
    Vision Zero success is directly related to the effort from every person that uses the streets, no matter how many ways we use them.

  • ArmyVet

    My wish list: Taxi drivers that use their 4 way flashers to indicate they are stopping or stopped in the roadway, and staying in their lane and not encroaching into lanes that already have a vehicle in it ( I can’t even imagine how much anxiety that must induce for bicyclists.). Every time I drive my motorcycle in NYC these dangerous Taxi violations occur.

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