[lg policy] Bill would allow new cabbies to skip written English test

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at gmail.com
Sat May 20 11:19:20 EDT 2017

Bill would allow new cabbies to skip written English test

By Danielle Furfaro and Bob Fredericks

January 16, 2016 | 12:40am

Bill would allow new cabbies to skip written English test

Yellow-cab rides could soon be driving New Yorkers completely crazy if the
City Council passes a new bill that would eliminate written English tests
for aspiring hacks.

The proposal would allow drivers to get their hack licenses with just a
cursory oral exam and without offering any proof they can read or write the
language, including traffic signs.

Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez (D-Manhattan), chair of the council
Transportation Committee, introduced the bill amid an exodus of yellow-cab
drivers to app-based car services like Uber and Lyft.

He insisted cab riders wouldn’t notice a difference.

“Effective communication between rider and driver is key for any ride and
this is not in jeopardy with this bill,” Rodriguez said.

Cab riders were skeptical on Friday Nicholas Grimaldi, a development
specialist from Chelsea, said hacks need to be more than just barely
conversational in English.

“I hope they’ll be able to read the signs. I think they’ll need retraining
in English.

I don’t think it’s a good idea,” he said.

Sabina, a stay-at-home mom from Union Square, predicted that cabbies who
can’t read English would likely get lost.

“If you can’t do a written exam, how would you be able to drive to
navigate?” she said.Joshua Harville, 34, a graphic designer, agreed, saying
a written test was a smart idea.

“If you can’t read a sign, you don’t know where you’re going. It should be
written. You need to be able to read,” said Harville, who is from Murray
Hill but now lives in Tennessee.

Rodriguez said he is pushing the measure to create one set of rules for
yellow-cab drivers and those who work for Uber or Lyft.

Currently, cabbies have to take a written test, while Uber drivers aren’t
tested and don’t have to even speak English, a council source said.

“We’ll be putting new measures in place to ensure passengers and their
drivers understand one another that will be required for all drivers, not
just those in one sector. This will create an equal level of service
between sectors,” Rodriguez said.

The proposal is one of eight bills the council will take up to regulate all
for-hire vehicles, from yellow and green cabs to black livery cars and
app-aided cars.

Another measure would bring stiffer penalties for illegal street hails.

Also, the Taxi and Limousine Commission would be required to provide
health-care services to drivers and boost transparency in the black-car
industry by requiring accurate pretrip fare estimates.

Another cab rider, Don Simmons noted the lax English testing could prove
costly for cabbies.

“They’re not going to get good tips if they can’t read,” said Simmons, CEO
of Power Packaging in Midtown. “As a New Yorker, I know where I’m going. If
I were a tourist, that’d be a problem.”


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