Local officials announced passage of a new state law allowing taxicabs, limousines and livery vehicles to operate in surrounding counties. The new transportation law protects local businesses from being fined when serving residents in nearby areas.
On Thursday, Senator David Carlucci (D-Rockland/Orange) and Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffee (D-Suffern) announced Gov. Andrew Cuomo had signed legislation they sponsored to give local transportation companies the ability to service residents within reciprocal jurisdictions.
Previously, New York State law prohibited Rockland taxis, limos, and livery vehicles from operating in other jurisdictions, yet at the same time allowed those types of vehicles from other jurisdictions to operate in the county. The new law give Rockland County the authority to regulate the registrations of these licensed businesses through local laws or ordinances.
“This new law will fundamentally change the way Rockland County residents travel outside of Rockland County,” said Senator Carlucci. “This is a big win not only for commuters, but for local businesses who will earn more money and generate more for the local economy. Now, instead of relying on a New York City or Westchester taxicabs to pick you up, passengers now have the comfort in knowing a cab driver is only minutes away.”
The vehicles do not have to be licensed in other jurisdictions that have “reciprocity” standards under New York State Vehicles and Traffic Law.
Assemblyman Ellen Jaffee said, “This law will strengthen our local economies and put money into the pockets of hard-working drivers who rent or own taxi cabs, limousines and livery vehicles. At the same time the law will increase safety for passengers, and it will give both drivers and passengers many more choices.”
However, a vehicle that is not licensed in another jurisdiction cannot drive a passenger from one location to another within that jurisdiction.
According to the bill, a licensing jurisdiction refers to a city with a population of one million or more, or a county within New York State contiguous to that city, that requires the issuance of a license, permit, registration, certification or other approval for a vehicle to perform the pre-arranged pick up or drop off of one or more passengers for compensation. While Westchester County and Nassau County had been included as jurisdictions, Rockland was not.
“In addition, I have heard from numerous local transportation companies that they are being unfairly sanctioned and fined by neighboring jurisdictions," said Assemblyman Ken Zebrowski. "This law will now allow Rockland to negotiate reciprocity with other municipalities to protect our local businesses.”
Michael Kohut, Mayor of the Village of Haverstraw pointed out that anotherbenefit is the centralized registration and background checks required for all drivers. The Rockland County Sheriff performs the background checks.
Raphael Ziegler, Chairman of the Rockland County Taxi & Livery Coalition said, “Rockland County has grown tremendously and the need for private transportation has grown along with it."
Ziegler, who is the chairman of the Rockland County Taxi & Livery Coalition, said there are approximately 30 transportation companies currently operating in Rockland County.