If you have ever ridden in a New York City yellow cab, odds are that you’ve experienced a cultural and language barrier between yourself and a yellow cab driver, many of whom pretend not to know English until it’s time to collect the fare.
If, like myself, you are an American or from elsewhere and speaks English, then at least once, you have asked yourself, “who did this guy pay off to secure a hack license,” or “who took the English proficiency exam for this individual” or worst yet, “who in the exam room helped this dope to cheat on the test?”
Well wonder no more because as of last Friday, the barriers that appears to have never been in place from the jump have been removed; and so it goes that with the elimination of the NYC Taxi & Limousine Commission (TLC)’s English Proficiency and Written Exam, yellow taxi drivers are no longer required to speak English.
Instead, the exam to acquire a hack license is now available in several languages, “to accommodate non-English speakers” while kicking sand once again in the faces of those of us who believe that not just taxi drivers but anyone with whom we do business in the United States should speak English.
As expected, while English-speaking New Yorkers express their displeasure, sponsors of this legislation in the New York City Council who coincidentally is in bed with the New York Taxi Workers Alliance, the 57th affiliate of the AFL-CIO has diminished those voices by labeling them, “troubling.”
Sponsor and former livery cabdriver, NYC Councilman, Ydanis Rodriguez, while mentioning that Uber and Lyft taxi drivers do not take English proficient exams to operate their cabs, sputtered yet another union talking point to justify the passage of the legislation:
“Driving a taxi or for-hire vehicle has long been a quality job for countless immigrants across the country. … It’s a step into the middle class for many and we should be removing barriers for entry,; said Rodriguez during a joint conference with Bronx Assemb. Victor Pichardo. ‘The ability or inability to write in English has not been an issue for the tens of thousands of livery and black car drivers who have been providing their services — many of them for more than four decades.”
On a personal note, I driven in Uber and Lyft taxis who do not require a hack license to operate more than once and have yet to be picked up by a driver who did not have command of the English language.
When one takes into consideration that only 4% of yellow taxi drivers are born in the United States, it is clear that the NYC Council and the City’s Communist mayor, Bill de Blasio who signed the legislation into law are doing the bidding of their collective bargaining friends.
Just last year. feeling that it was no longer necessary, the TLC nixed questions pertaining to New York City’s “geography” from the exam.
Spokesman for the TLC, Allan Fromberg, attributed the decision to nix geography questions and knowledge of the City’s landmarks from the exam to “catching up with the times” and “practical modernization” of the TLC’s “educational curriculum” while others are at least up front about it, attributing the decision to modern technology, i.e., GPS.
Balderdash! About the same time last year, I took a yellow taxi from Port Authority at 4:30 in the morning. The cab driver must’ve tapped into his GPS at least 4 times before he finally turned and asked me for directions to my destination.
Another plus for Uber and Lyft drivers is that (a) they know how to navigate a GPS system and (b) many are veteran NYC yellow taxi drivers who have driven throughout the City and tristate area for decades.
“While Mr. Fromberg called the culling of the geography questions a ‘small modification,’ critics, including perhaps the toughest critics of all, passengers, say it will result in some drivers starting out behind the wheel knowing less about New York than the tourist in the back seat equipped with a guidebook and a smartphone.
‘If I got into a cab and the driver didn’t know where Penn Station was, that’d be ridiculous,’ said Carolyn Baker, a lifelong New Yorker who has been taking cabs for more than 50 years. ‘I mean, would you hire a chef who never fried an egg?’
As for relying on online maps, she said, ‘I don’t want the driver using GPS while they are driving and put my life at risk….”
Bad news for New Yorkers and tourists is that since the TLC eliminated geography and landmark questions from the exam, there’s been a 20 percent in the passage of exams.
Bad news for the institutions that prepare New York City yellow taxi drivers for the exams.
“…Some instructors for the cab-driving test are also alarmed. ‘I think it’s stupid that a New York City cabdriver can get his hack license without knowing where the Empire State Building or the Chrysler Building is,’ said Efim Vitomsky, who runs a taxi training institute at Kingsborough Community College….”
The TLC’s decision to dumb down the requirements needed to acquire a hack license and drive yellow taxis will eventually prove to be another failed social engineering policy implemented by City Hall’s Marxist bureaucrats and nail in the coffin of the yellow taxi service long despised by New Yorkers.
At the same time, all of the above is even worse news for those passengers who themselves are unfamiliar with NYC’s landmarks and geography.
One more feather in the cap of Commie de Blasio, first the Desnudas reverting Times Square back to its era of sleaze and now the perfect opportunity which will result a massive increase in shyster yellow taxi drivers taking passengers on looooooooong and overpriced cab rides.
Their defense being that do not speak English, cannot read New York City street signs that are in English, are unfamiliar with the City’s geography, unable to communicate with the passenger because of the language barrier and, therefore, not liable.