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CB10, 45th Precinct rein in unlicensed cabs

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Community Board 10 has joined an effort to rein in unlicensed and unregistered cabs on Westchester Avenue. The goal is for the cabs to comply with regulations issued by the Taxi and Limousine Commission. Radio cabs are supposed to respond to phone hails only, not street hails.

According to CB10 district manager Ken Kearns, CB10 worked with the 45th Precinct to request that the commission look into problems caused by illegally hailed cabs and erratic driving, particularly on Westchester Avenue between Westchester Square and Pelham Bay train station. CB10 and the 45th Precinct also singled out Bay Plaza in Co-op City.

In response to the request, the commission seized some 20 cabs on Westchester Avenue and throughout CB10. The commission caught radio cabs picking up street hails and nailed drivers for improper license and registration. Councilman Jimmy Vacca also joined the effort, which shed light on the problem illegal cabs pose to public safety, he said.

“We worked with CB10 on an action to [fight illegal cabs],” Vacca said. “My main concern is that many of these cabs are not insured.”

Vacca asked commuters to think twice before getting into unlicensed cabs or radio cars picking up street hails.

Pelham Bay IRT Train Station is an illegal cab magnet, Kearns said. Although a legitimate radio cab company, Co-op City Luxury Car, operates at Pelham Bay station and is allowed to park cabs on the street, many unlicensed cabs also frequent the station.

“The cabs come to the Pelham Bay train station and begin offering people rides, picking up fares off the street. This clogs up traffic,” Kearns said. “The commuters are just trying to get from point A to point B during rush hour and are not really concerned with anything else.”

At the station, illegal cabs are a long-standing problem.

“[Pelham Bay train station] has been that way for years,” Kearns said.

Reach reporter Patrick Rocchio at 718 742-3393 or procchio@cnglocal.com

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