Taxi driver Khairul Amin and three other cabbies have been pushing for the Taxi & Limousine Commission to stop immediately suspending hack licenses after arrests — before drivers have been tried and convicted.
If you’re a taxi, livery cab or commuter van driver licensed by the city’s Taxi and Limousine Commission and you’re charged with breaking the rules, and if you want to contest that charge, you have to go to a hearing in a place like 32-02 Queens Boulevard. One of the first things you notice –- one of the first things I noticed, anyway –- is that the building, a big former factory, is pink.
As an associate for a major Wall Street law firm, I had deposed Donald Trump. I had also litigated in landlord-tenant court. So I thought I knew something about blowhards and a little about due process. But I knew nothing, nothing until I encountered the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission.
Dan Ackman had figured that his request was so straightforward that it would be hassle-free. He figured wrong. Mr. Ackman was writing about New York taxi drivers for his master’s degree project at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. It made sense, he thought, to sit in on the city’s administrative hearings where judgment is passed on drivers accused of infractions. The cabbies’ take is that the deck is stacked against them at those hearings. Mr. Ackman wanted to see for himself.
Ruling in a lawsuit filed by a journalism student, a State Supreme Court judge in Manhattan said that the Giuliani administration had no legal power to bar the public from the rapid-fire administrative hearings commonly known as taxi court, where passengers go to complain about drivers and drivers have long complained that the deck is stacked against them.