The Black Car Assistance Corporation (BCAC) was initially started in 1991 to address one important issue: to pass legislation that would retain the Independent Contractor status of the many drivers serving its member companies, while at the same time providing much-needed workers’ compensation insurance for those drivers.
This process, which took nearly nine years, led to the formation of the groundbreaking New York Black Car Fund. The Fund was created by statute (Chapter 49 of the laws of 1999) to provide workers’ compensation coverage for Black Car operators in New York State, and signed into law by Governor George Pataki in May of 1999.
While the formation of The Fund may have been the BCAC’s most significant and unifying act, it is by no means its only success. Since its formation, the BCAC has helped create and pass important legislation, become a recognized and respected voice in Albany, and built solid working relationships with the State’s Taxicab & Limousine Commissions (TLCs).
The following are some of the BCAC’s other significant achievements:
- Helped develop a reciprocal agreement between the TLCs in New York City, Westchester and Nassau County.
- Added Black Cars to the list of vehicles allowed to use High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes.
- Established Black Car/Limo lots at LaGuardia, Kennedy and Newark Airports.
- Secured the first Black Car staging areas in Manhattan.
- Worked closely with the New York City TLC in developing the Commission’s New Rules, ensuring the fair treatment of Black Car companies.
- Prevented New Jersey from imposing a $1.5 Million insurance requirement on Black Car drivers.
- Worked with the Taxicab Limousine & Paratransit Association, National Limousine Association and Carey Limousine to establish IRS audit guidelines determining that its drivers are in fact Independent Contractors. As a result, its drivers can deduct business expenses and are not required to pay withholding taxes.
- The BCAC worked with the NYC TLC on a series of new “distracted driving” rules. Initially, the TLC’s rules were written in such a way that they would have been overly restrictive and damaging to the FHV industry – but the BCAC’s input enabled the TLC to accomplish its goal of improved public safety, without disrupting an FHV company’s ability to efficiently dispatch vehicles to its clients.
- Assisted in the drafting of legislation that allows for collaboration between NYC, Rockland County & Suffolk County TLCs
- Negotiated with the TLC to establish an acceptable solution to increase accessibility to passengers who are wheelchair users
- Prevented the TLC from passing a new rule that would increase the fine for vehicle defects upon inspection from $50/day to $500 flat fine and immediate license suspension until repair
- During Superstorm Sandy, the BCAC advocated for FHV drivers and bases to ensure their interests were protected. In doing so, we successfully carved out an exemption from HOV restrictions for FHV vehicles in the days after the storm, when City Hall and NYC DOT only wanted to exempt yellow taxis
- During and in the wake of Superstorm Sandy, the BCAC assisted the TLC in executing a plan to deliver gas to all TLC regulated vehicles as the area faced an extreme gas shortage
- By bringing all of the different TLC regulated industries together, the BCAC played a leading role in successfully blocking the passage of permanent rules that would have permitted e-hailing in NYC