Wednesday, June 27, 2012
Atlas Park lot used for towed cabs
From the NY Times:
In sleek black sedans and unmarked blue vans, stretch limousines and family-friendly S.U.V.’s, the city’s unlicensed taxi drivers have long thrived on a simple fact: Officials often could not seize their cars because there was no place to put them.
But about three months ago, David S. Yassky, the chairman of New York City’s Taxi and Limousine Commission, received an e-mail from an old acquaintance. The man had heard about the space issue, he said. Would the city like to use his lot in Queens?
The man was Damon Hemmerdinger, a co-president at his family’s real estate company, ATCO Properties and Management, and the son of Dale Hemmerdinger, the former chairman of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
After reading an article in The New York Times about the dearth of available tow pound space for unlicensed taxis, Mr. Hemmerdinger agreed to allow the city to use his company’s roughly two-acre lot in Glendale. The city needed to pay only for electricity, lot security, and an occasional cleaning.
By the beginning of June, the lot could hold more than 100 unlicensed taxis at a time. Turnover is typically rapid, as drivers retrieve their vehicles after paying fines and fees that often rise to over $500. Over the last year, the commission added about 60 enforcement agents, bringing its total to over 150. In 2011, 1,737 cars were seized, according to the commission. This year, more than 2,400 cars have been rounded up already.