To the Editor:
The New York Taxi Workers Alliance salutes the thousands of taxi drivers who are working to keep the city moving. Some drivers waited 5, 7, even up to 9 hours on line last night just so the city would have taxis in the daytime today. Today, many drivers have been traveling as far as Connecticut. We have members who went to work while still facing power outages at home. Many did not even earn back their lease and operating expenses because of the short shifts. We know thousands more would be at the service of our neighbors and visitors if they were not affected by the fuel shortage. Over 30 percent of taxis are out of service compared to last Friday. There are 13,237 licensed medallion taxis in NYC. On a typical day, drivers collectively serve over 500,000 riders.
We are advising the following:
We know the mayor, governor and federal government are working around the clock to help increase the supply as quickly as possible. We ask the city to make taxis a priority at the pump, similar to what other countries do during such outages. We are the other face of mass transit and integral to filling the void. When drivers can’t help move the city, there is a domino effect on other economic sectors and an already-embattled mass transit.
Gas stations restricting the number of gallons must allow taxis to fill up all the way. Limiting us to half a tank means half a shift of service.
Since Thursday evening, NYTWA has been using Twitter and Facebook to compile a list of gas stations with availability and expected supply delivery times. We also have the list up on our website at www.nytwa.org.
Drivers and riders should group share as directed by the mayor and the Taxi and Limousine Commission to help conserve fuel and serve more people. The first passenger is charged the metered rate. Each additional passenger is charged a flat amount. The TLC is suggesting a per-head amount of $10 within Manhattan and a $25 amount from borough to borough. Drivers have the right to accept additional passengers. Drivers are also encouraged to work taxi stands such as Penn Station and Grand Central and outside subway stations, and concentrate on outer borough neighborhoods such as Brooklyn, where mass transit is more limited.
Night- and day-drivers should be in constant communication to share wait time at the gas station. Drivers should cover the prime hours when the public needs us most: morning rush hour, evening rush hour and late night after-hours.
For more information, drivers may contact: 212-627-5248 or [email protected]
Executive Director, NYTWA.