Janet Lee

Janet Lee
Photo:Janet Lee, injured by a taxi partition.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Jessica Formoso of NY Citys' Fox5 TV station covers the demise of partition mandates

This reporter and her report of 4/22/2016 (http://www.fox5ny.com/news/130038902-story ) do little to clear the air on this so-called 'partition debate'. The first errors in the story are;1. the absurdity of using acrylic plastic (Plexiglas) is beyond the pale, the material used is polycarbonate (like Lexan), 2. the TLC lie that the partitions were installed for driver safety, they were, in fact, installed as an experiment to see if more drivers would work at night with a partition, and 3. 20 years ago was the 17th year of partition mandates in NYC.
On one hand it seems that the partitions 'controversy' is about the mandate that now allows cameras in lieu of partitions. Fox 5 shows one small and apparently frightened little cab driver who favors the partition because he says his customers are strangers. What a revelation!
Then they show a driver who favors cameras because the partition is a bother. So, the argument seems to be about which is favored.
On the other hand, Fox 5 then muddies the water by bringing up partition injury risk, versus some agenda attempting to make cabs more like Uber cars. The TLC says it isn't about competing with Uber (which one should interpret inversely) but about choice. The TLC reportedly says different people have different reasons for choosing either option, partition or camera. The comfort aspect is mentioned. The partitions currently used don't move with the front seat adjustment. This restricts rear seat legroom.
It is cited that 318 cabs are currently without partitions. What is not explained is how the ability to be exempted from the partition requirement has evolved from including nearly half to about 2% of the medallion cabs in NYC. Most operators who wanted to exercise 'choice' previously, needed to qualify in increasingly restrictive ways. Now every owner has the choice. It seems more appropriate to me to let it be the drivers' choice. But nobody seems to want to consider using a partition that could be installed or removed at a whim, so drivers could have a choice.
The TLC says they want to make both partitions and cameras available. I have news for them, they are available without the imprimatur of the TLC.
Michael O'Laughlin, of Cab Riders United (with their bogus email address), says partitions should be eliminated in all except the taxis of tomorrow. He says because the partitions are dangerous. If he were consistent about risk, why would it be ok for some to have it, and be too dangerous for others?
After a dire advisory about facial mutilation in this 'safety experiment' of partition mandates, the report again changes track, ignoring the thousands mutilated this way, or killed since 1969, by citing one TLC board member who says, Yes, this is to be more competitive with Uber, by allowing the taxi occupants to be more 'social.
The report jumps from one aspect to another without making any sensible conclusion.
What should be concluded from an accurate report is that the 43 year old mandate is being abandoned because the doctors have submitted testimony regarding the death and mutilation, drivers don't want them, passengers don't want them and this sick experiment has now come to an end. What will other cities that require partitions do, now that the agency that they all emulated, has changed course?