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Lamchouak: TLC rule changes would hurt drivers, passengers

A view of Times Square on August 8,

A view of Times Square on August 8, 2013. Photo Credit: Getty/Tom Pennington

I'm a New York City car-service driver, and a big fan of new apps that help me connect with riders and be as productive as possible.

Apps are a new way for riders to get a taxi, black cab or livery car, and the technology has made my job a lot simpler. For one, they make connecting with riders and accepting fare payments much easier.

Before the apps, I would get riders just from a single dial-a-car company and I had a lot of down time.

Now that I can connect with customers directly, I waste less gas driving around waiting for calls and I earn more money because I can get rides during slow periods.

The Taxi and Limousine Commission recently proposed new regulations that would just make life harder for both drivers and riders. The rules are expected to be considered by the TLC Thursday.

If the regulations are approved, I believe I would only be able to get riders from a single dial-a-car company or app, unless that company or app specifically allows me to take passengers from other companies or apps, which most would not agree to do.

They're competitors and they're not interested in working together.

The proposed TLC guidelines would mean drivers like me will suffer. The dial-a-car companies would control our fates and we would be dependent on them to get business. Drivers would eventually go back to having a lot of down time and fewer paying passengers.

The wealthiest dial-a-car companies can afford to hire the most drivers and would refuse to let them drive for any other companies or apps. The TLC would be giving the biggest dial-a-car companies and apps the power to create a monopoly.

The rules would be bad for passengers, too. Customers would go back to long waits and fewer choices -- particularly those who live in mass transit-starved neighborhoods. People still using apps could expect more price surges when they try to get rides at busier times.

New Yorkers are used to change. We support anything that makes the city run more efficiently because we all benefit. But now is not the time for the TLC to approve regulations that would only take us backward.

Khadija Lamchouak is a licensed driver and resident of Borough Park.

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