From the Daily News:
City taxi inspectors seized a record-high 5,776 illegal livery cars last year, more than triple the number confiscated the prior year, authorities said Thursday.
The record could be smashed again this year because inspectors already hauled 849 vehicles off the road in January — up from 276 the prior January.
Nearly all of the busts are gypsy drivers, who poach riders from licensed livery services and yellow cabs.
TLC-authorized livery drivers must take a defensive driving course, get drug tested and clear a criminal background check. The TLC also sets minimum insurance levels for any accidents involving passenger injuries and inspects livery cars for defects.
Gypsy drivers bypass all those requirements.
Inspectors confiscated 1,737 cars in 2011. The increase in 2012 is partly due to the TLC’s hiring of 100 additional inspectors last year.
A new class of recruits hit the streets last month and another group just began training.