THE FHV Industry Prevails Over NYC TLC by Having FHV Coalition Pilot Program Codified as Law!


June 13, 2018
A Message from The Black Car Fund's Chairman of the Board, Berj Haroutunian

It is with great pleasure and pride that I report to you that, through a coordinated effort, the Article 78 petition brought against the NYC TLC in New York Supreme Court has prevailed, and has resulted in settlement terms which are favorable to the entirety of the FHV Industry, but most importantly, favorable to the Member Bases of The Black Car Fund.

Between the litigation brought against them by the FHV coalition, and the pressure we brought up in Albany with our state legislators pushing for the passage of a bill which would have taken authority away from the TLC to implement and enforce such an unreasonable mandate, the TLC had its arm twisted into settling, in an effort to save some face over its passage of a rule with arbitrary metrics of mandated success.

The settlement reached on June 13th, which can be read in its entirety by clicking here, provided that the NYC TLC will be suspending both implementation and enforcement action of its voted on FHV WAV rule (the original, horribly onerous rule) until such time that the NYC TLC Board of Commissioners is able to convene and vote on and approve of the settlement reached today in court by NYC TLC representatives.

Additionally, the basics of the settlement are that there will now be an official and permanent alternative path to FHV accessibility service compliance, in the form of the FHV coalition pilot program being codified into rule making. The 25% mandate still remains (to be reached by 2023), however, only if a base chooses not to utilize and contract with an Accessible Vehicle Dispatcher, or "AVD" (previously known and referred to as WAV-D's, or 'Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle Dispatchers) to fulfill service requests. 

It is also key to note that under the terms of the fantastic settlement reached today, the number of AVDs (again, previously known as WAV-Ds) will no longer be limited to 3, but instead, open to all applicants who meet NYC TLC criteria for approval, inclusive of service contracts with at least 10 Bases. This is a fantastic prolonged boost to our Industry, creating the framework for new and increased competition, albeit, conditional on our follow-through.

Thank you to all who contributed to this massive joint effort to protect the viability of our Industry, and in turn, protect the paychecks of all who work within it!

-- Berj Haroutunian, Chairman of the Board
The Black Car Fund


The Black Car Fund Announces $50,000 Driver Death Benefit

From left to right:  Jim Conigliaro Jr., Council Transportation Chairman Ydanis Rodriguez (D-Washington Heights); Shafqat Khan the brother of Roohul Ameen; Farwah Ameen and Hadiyah Ameen, the daughters of Roohul Ameen, TLC Commissioner Meera Joshi; Councilman I. Daneek Miller (D- St. Albans); Ira Goldstein, Executive Director of the Black Car Fund; Diana Clemente, President of Big Apple Car, Inc.; B  erj Haroutunian, Chairman of the Black Car Fund.

From left to right: Jim Conigliaro Jr., Council Transportation Chairman Ydanis Rodriguez (D-Washington Heights); Shafqat Khan the brother of Roohul Ameen; Farwah Ameen and Hadiyah Ameen, the daughters of Roohul Ameen, TLC Commissioner Meera Joshi; Councilman I. Daneek Miller (D- St. Albans); Ira Goldstein, Executive Director of the Black Car Fund; Diana Clemente, President of Big Apple Car, Inc.; Berj Haroutunian, Chairman of the Black Car Fund.

On February 14, 2017, The Black Car Fund announced a new death benefit for families of member drivers killed on the job. The death benefit, which is guaranteed at $50,000, ensures that families of deceased drivers will not also suffer financially. The BCF made the announcement with the Ameen family after member driver Roohul Ameen was killed last June. 

Mr. Ameen, was a driver for Big Apple Car, Inc., living in Bayshore, Long Island with his wife and four young children. In June, he was struck and killed while tending to his car on the side of the Long Island Expressway. At the recommendation of Ira Goldstein, the Executive Director of The Black Car Fund, the fund’s Board of Directors established the death benefit shortly after Mr. Ameen’s passing in order to protect families of member drivers in the event of work related deaths. This new death benefit is in addition to any other death benefit member drivers’ families may have under the workers compensation law. 

“The Black Car Fund is fully committed to our drivers," said Goldstein. "While we are heartbroken over the loss of Mr. Ameen, we are pleased to offer this new, guaranteed death benefit to his family and all our members. Driving is high risk work which requires a supportive workforce model.”

Black car drivers are independent contractors who enjoy workers’ compensation and insurance coverage through The Black Car Fund. The Fund also pays drivers to attend wellness seminars and safety trainings to meet the highest professional standards, serving as a model in the new “gig economy.”

“The challenges of workers not having any benefits in the emerging gig economy makes today particularly meaningful, and makes me very proud to be a founding member of The Black Car Fund that developed a business model that was ahead of its time,” said Diana Clemente, President of Big Apple Car, Inc. “I along with my peers did it because our drivers are the backbones of our companies, our extended families, and when they suffer, we suffer too. I am honored and grateful that my industry peers saw fit to assist my former driver's family after his tragic accidental work related death.” 

“I want to thank The Black Car Fund and Diane Clemente at Big Apple Car, Inc., for being supportive and acting to relieve at least some of our suffering,” said Shafqat Khan, the brother of Roohul Ameen. "This is the first time this is happening, and in the future, families can rest assured that they will not suffer financially on top of their human loss. 

“We recognize that black car drivers are working people who face high risk conditions daily,” said Berj Haroutunian, Chairman of The Black Car Fund. “They are always there for New Yorkers and we that’s why we must be there for them and their families when they need it most.”  

“Once again, The Black Car Fund set an industry-wide example on how workers should be treated,” said City Council Transportation Chair Ydanis Rodriguez (D-Washington Heights). “Driving is not the safest job, especially in a dense urban center, which is why I have been a leading proponent of Vision Zero's goals to end traffic fatalities for good. However, the harsh reality is that fatalities do occur; and in these tragic cases, drivers deserve the peace of mind that their families will be taken care of if they are taken from us too soon.” 

“City drivers often provide central but dangerous services, and it is our responsibility to support them and their families so they are able to live the quality of life they deserve,” said Councilman I. Daneek Miller (D- St. Albans). “Unfortunately, tragedies such as these make it necessary this death benefit to exist and  I applaud The Black Car Fund for establishing it and making it retroactive for these workers.”  

“Each time we get behind the wheel, each of us is at risk of being injured or killed in an accident,” said Jim Conigliaro Jr., founder of the Independent Drivers Guild. “For New York's professional drivers, who transport hundreds of thousands of passengers per day, the on-the-job risks are very real. With the addition of this benefit, The Black Car Fund is making an important improvement to its safety net for the drivers who keep our city moving.”   

National Police Defense Foundation (NPDF)

PSA: "In An Instant"

In this PSA video, "In An Instant," put out by the National Police Defense Foundation (NPDF), the realities of life for members of the Law Enforcement community following a line-of-duty shooting are addressed. For Law Enforcement professionals, being put in the position to take a life in defense of themselves or the community is a nightmare all on its own; this PSA goes into the persistent, lingering nightmare that follows - including the massive impact on the Officer, and their families, forever.