Nassau’s Taxi & Limousine Commission, in its first two months of operating as a fully staffed county department, has issued more violations than it did in the previous two years, records show.
The county legislature voted to create the department in December, 2014, and appointed its advisory board members — largely cab company owners — last year. But the hiring and training process for its eight full-time investigators didn’t wrap up until March.
Between April and May, the TLC issued 692 violations, most for for-hire vehicles that did not have the required county registration, said department commissioner Gregory May.
In 2014 and 2015, when TLC enforcement was a small arm of county consumer affairs, 660 violations were issued.
The violations in recent months spanned from unregistered cars picking up fares at Roosevelt Field Mall and Long Island Rail Road stations to prom limos and party buses without valid inspection stickers.
“If you saw the conditions of some these vehicles, you would not feel safe,” May said. “And now that we have the staff out there enforcing, things are changing.”
When County Executive Edward Mangano pitched creating the standalone Taxi & Limousine Commission, he cited rider safety, not revenue, as the top priority. But fines for the most-common TLC violations can range from up to $1,500 for a first offense to $5,000 for a third or fourth offense, and the department has budgeted $646,500 in revenue this year, after collecting $342,505 in 2014 and $384,037 in 2015.
The administration has said the county is seeing a “proliferation” of unlicensed for-hire vehicles, including those hailed by popular ridesharing apps such as Uber. The TLC, despite some early meetings with those companies, has yet to issue registrations for such vehicles to go point-to-point within Nassau.
May said roughly half of the recent violations have been issued to unregistered ridesharing vehicles.
Uber representatives did not respond to a request for comment on whether they’d resume lobbying efforts in Nassau County. The company has more recently focused on proposed statewide legislation that would allow its vehicles to operate widely outside of New York City.