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Queens Chronicle

TLC cracks down on illegal airport ‘taxis’

New JFK facility, more vehicle seizures

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Posted: Thursday, December 5, 2013 10:30 am | Updated: 11:28 am, Thu Dec 12, 2013.

Seizures of unlicensed livery vehicles at John F. Kennedy International Airport have skyrocketed 500 percent since a new enforcement facility opened there on Oct. 8, according to a statement issued Monday by the Taxi and Limousine Commission.

The new facility, opened in coordination with the Port Authority, which operates the airport, was established to combat illegal activity by drivers of livery cars, so-called “dollar vans” and other drivers looking to make a buck off of fares from the airport.

In New York City, only drivers of yellow medallion taxis may pick up fares at Kennedy and LaGuardia airports.

“JFK is an exceptionally active transportation hub, and for that reason it is a magnet for illegal for-hire activity,” TLC Commissioner David Yassky said Monday. “It is very natural for us to have a home here at JFK, and we’re grateful to the Port Authority for embracing this initiative and for so effectively partnering with us on enforcement in general.”

Joseph Dunne, the PA’s chief security officer, said the new facility benefits everyone.

“There is no place at Port Authority airports for illegal taxi hustlers, and we are pleased that the [TLC] is enhancing its crackdown initiatives to supplement those by Port Authority police officers,” Dunne said.

“The TLC’s increased vigilance will help protect passengers at JFK Airport by reducing the chances they may unwittingly accept a ride from a fraudulent and potentially unsafe driver pretending to be a legitimate taxi operator.”

TLC inspectors have seized 442 illegal, unlicensed vehicles at JFK since Oct. 8, more than five times the number seized in the same period in 2012.

Representatives of the Metropolitan Taxicab Board of Trade, which represents numerous fleets of medallion taxi owners, did not respond to a request for comment.

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