From the Queens Gazette:
Councilmember Peter F. Vallone Jr. last week blasted officials at the city Taxi & Limousine Commission (TLC) for approving a plan to issue street hail permits to livery drivers – including drivers that can’t speak English.
Vallone said he is looking into legislation that would give drivers a grace period, during which they must learn to speak English. Drivers who fail to comply by the end of the grace period could lose their permit.
The TLC last week approved new rules that would allow 18,000 livery drivers to obtain permits to pick up street hails, bypassing car service companies.
The new permits will be sold in groups of 6,000 a year, beginning in June 2012, only to current livery drivers.
Existing TLC rules require drivers of yellow cabs to pass a test showing they can speak English, possess a knowledge of city geography and understand all agency rules, before they are issued a permit.