How Does the NYC Cap on for-hire Vehicle Licenses Affect Motorcoach Operators?

Taxi cabs in NYC
Taxi cabs in NYC
Mikayel Bartikyan / Shutterstock

How Does the NYC Cap on for-hire Vehicle Licenses Affect Motorcoach Operators?

With the rise of rideshare service availability in New York City, taxis aren’t the only vehicles suffering from a decline in business
October 29, 2018

We live in an era where, with just one tap of a button on an app, a personal ride will conveniently arrive in just a matter of minutes, taking you anywhere you desire. 

But as people grow more and more dependent on rideshare services like Uber and Lyft, more problems arise in heavily congested parts of New York City, especially at busy locations where people often rely on 3rd party forms of transportation, like the airport. 

Rideshare services like Uber and Lyft account for roughly 118,000 vehicles on the road, regulated and licensed through the New York Taxi & Limousine Commission, while chauffeured vehicles like charter bus rentals only make up less than 4%. With e-hail services becoming more popular, taxi and for-hire services have faced a considerable decline in business, leaving 40% of for-hire vehicles empty

Companies like Ally Charter Bus and Easy Charter Bus help groups travel together in an organized manner. Instead of groups separating into different vehicles, leading to more traffic and congestion on the road, they can rely on a chauffeured ride to their destination without the need to worry about navigating unfamiliar roads, facing traffic on their own, or trying to find parking. Motorcoach rentals aim to ease group transportation stress while providing a singular mode of transportation for at least 56 passengers. On top of that, Uber drivers aren’t required to pass the same background check that motorcoach companies go through, making for-hire bus services safer and more trustworthy.

However, groups waiting for a motorcoach or taxi that they scheduled ahead of time are facing longer wait times as rideshare drivers sit in their cars waiting for customers, clogging the road for motorcoaches who were hired weeks, even months, ahead of time. Trips into the city and to airports are now more difficult and take much longer than they need to. 

In an effort to ease NYC’s traffic and provide solutions to for-hire vehicle companies who are facing declining business, Mayor Bill De Blasio recently signed legislation to place a temporary 12-month pause on new licenses for the for-hire vehicle industry, mainly targeting rideshare services like Uber and Lyft. With this legislation, De Blasio told amNewYork that he hopes more people will rely on public transportation to reconcile “how much damage Uber has done in many different ways.”

While this legislation sounds like a fool-proof solution to ease road congestion and fix a decline in for-hire business, the motorcoach industry has mixed feelings, claiming it will do more harm than good.

Scott Solombrino, President & CEO of Dav El BostonCoach Chauffeured Transportation Network and co-founder of the National Limousine Association, says the legislation is penalizing the motorcoach industry, capping them for reaching their full potential. 

“Here's what the NYC Council will find at the end of this terrible experiment: Fortune 1000 corporations were unable to enact the kind of long-term contracts they're accustomed to doing with luxury transportation providers (‘x amount of trips in x amount of time’); because those limo companies couldn't fulfill the contracts. Therefore, those Fortune 1000 corporations took their business to other cities," explains Solombrino. 

"The City of New York painted this over with way too broad of a brush...and wound up hurting all of us."

Will this legislation actually help the motorcoach industry or jeopardize it more? Is this just a method to get more people to take the subway since the City of New York has invested so many tax dollars in public transportation? The next twelve months will be a trial for both e-hail and for-hire businesses, and they’ll have to adjust as the industry changes and fewer licenses are available. 

Julia Repisky at Ally Charter Bus
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