BY MICHAEL CAHILL
Rockland County taxi and livery drivers will soon only need one permit to operate in the county and for the first time will be able to operate in areas outside of Rockland.
The legislation, (S.6491/A.9301), passed by New York State and signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo on August 17, gives Rockland County permission to create its own central licensing authority for taxi and livery drivers.
At a press conference last Thursday at Haverstraw Village Hall, state and local lawmakers gathered to celebrate the legislation and talk about what it means for Rockland’s future.
“This will make it so much more fair and efficient to really cut through the red tape of bureaucracy. And to make sure that we have a one stop clearing house so that cab operators can operate anywhere in the county,” said State Senator David Carlucci, an architect of the legislation.
Under state law, towns and municipalities have the ability to issue taxi licenses, but the county needed approval from the state to begin issuing its own.
With a future central licensing authority passengers can be assured that the people driving their cabs are properly licensed and are adhering to a uniform code, said Carlucci.
The centerpiece of this new legislation gives Rockland based transportation companies the ability to operate in areas outside of the county without the fear of costly fines, namely in Westchester County.
Currently drivers that are not licensed in Westchester, but who must drop off a passenger or even drive through Westchester, are at risk for large fines from vigilant police, that drivers say unfairly single them out. While at the same time Westchester based taxi and livery vehicles are permitted to operate in Rockland County with impunity.
Local officials praised the legislation and said it would put more people to work and more money in the pockets of taxi and livery drivers. Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffee praised the legislation, calling it “an economic development piece for our community.”