BY IRA GOLDSTEIN
While Construction Woes Affect FHVs at LaGuardia International Airport May was exceptionally busy for both the Black Car Fund (BCF) and Black Car Assistance Corp. (BCAC), in what has been an already active year.
Those of you with clients heading to NYC might need an update on the situation at LaGuardia International Airport (LGA), one of New York’s busiest transit hubs. Since the previous report, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ) has changed the way pick-ups are performed between the overnight hours at its popular—and under construction—Terminal B. Now, between the hours of 10 pm and 6 am daily, for-hire vehicles (FHVs) may conduct pick-up operations at the departures level of Terminal B.
In addition, PANYNJ has devised a system of making it easier for passengers to rendezvous with their FHV drivers. There are now numbered signs posted on the pre-existing columns along the departure level of Terminal B, from numbers 1 to 7. We advise all operators who serve LGA to advise your clients of what numbered column their driver will be closest to. If there are any additional changes to the operations at LGA, they will be posted first on the BCAC’s Facebook page to make it easy for operators to follow the developments.
On May 17, the BCAC held a membership meeting sponsored by NuRide Management Group at the East Elmhurst LaGuardia Plaza Hotel in Queens. NuRide COO Tarek Mallah addressed the New York ground transportation industry with a presentation on the services that the company offers, such as backup fulfillment and fleet management solutions. This meeting, which was open to BCAC membership only, was a great opportunity for everyone in attendance to voice their concerns on the state of the industry and debate amongst a closed group the key next steps in addressing said issues.
Also, during the meeting, BCAC launched its new and improved website, followed by a presentation delivered by the BCAC’s Communication and Social Media Specialist Jason Fromberg detailing the new functionality, which looks to provide a lot for our members.
The site’s first new feature is the BCAC member-exclusive Industry Forum. While this concept was once initially a part of the older BCAC website, very few seemed interested in keeping it alive at the time. However, given the current state of the industry, especially in New York, a forum like this is beneficial for members, as it provides a place where they can all instantly come forward with any and all issues and hopefully be provided with insight by a fellow industry member who has some sort of experience with the issue. Another feature exclusive to BCAC members is a searchable Member Directory, which is password protected and always up to date.
Also included on the site for all users—members and non-members alike—is a new BCAC Events Calendar that will detail key industry happenings, such as BCAC meetings, TLC and City Council hearings, and much more. To build on that, BCAC members will be able to submit their events to be considered for placement on the calendar.
Lastly, the new digital membership form allows anyone wishing to join the BCAC to do so directly on our website, making the application process much more seamless and efficient—not to mention more accessible. I am excited to see what new era of professional cooperation is ushered in as a result of these new BCAC website features, and the positive things it can bring to our industry as a whole.
Furthermore, BCAC held an event early in May with NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer, who is up for re-election. Stringer, admittedly a newcomer to the FHV industry, saw the incredible value in getting acquainted with those within the industry in as intimate a setting as we had. Regardless of your political affiliations or leanings, I think we can all agree that it was noble of him, and in line with his duty as a public servant, to learn the issues plaguing our industry. Stringer took particular issues quite seriously, even committing to look into them on our behalf.
I advise you all to take advantage of these situations whenever they arise, no matter what jurisdiction you may be in. Developing a professional rapport with an elected official is always a good use of time, as you never know when and how they may come to prove useful, if not essential. Take the time to educate yourselves on your local leaders and pounce on every opportunity you have for some face time with them.
Please take a moment to take a look at the new BCAC website (nybcac.org), and provide feedback on the new interface–or even think about joining! [CD0717]
Ira Goldstein is the Executive Director of the New York Black Car Fund and the Black Car Assistance Corp., and is both a TLPA board member and co-chair for its limousine & sedan steering committee. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.