Illegal Van Crackdown

TLC Ticket Blitz In Maspeth. Elmhurst

Prompted by complaints from the Communities of Maspeth and Elmhurst Together (COMET) civic group, the Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) descended upon the neighborhood last weekend and seized four cars, according to the civic group’s president.

According to COMET President Rosemarie Daraio, two non-commercial vehicles were caught being used as commuter vans, while two other paratransit vans were also caught operating illegally. In addition, five commuter vans received summonses for operating outside their authorized areas.

Daraio told the Times Newsweekly that TLC Assistant Commissioner Jeff Hunt assured her that more enforcement will be forthcoming, and that the agency is “not looking to put a Band-Aid on it.”

The enforcement came after COMET presented the TLC with evidence in the form of a list of commuter vans operating in unauthorized areas within the portions of the 104th, 108th and 110th precincts that COMET represents.

For instance, over a four-day period from Aug. 6 to Aug. 9, COMET members found 17 instances of unauthorized commuter vans or author- ized vans operating in the wrong areas; 13 of those happened over a one-hour stretch on Monday, Aug. 6 alone.

Despite the enforcement, Daraio noted that problems persist, especially on Calamus Avenue. Later last Saturday, according to Daraio, an unmarked personal passenger van was seen by witnesses getting into an accident with a passenger car on 72nd Street and Calamus Avenue.

Reportedly, the van backed into the car, and its passengers left the van.

“It’s a circus here,” Daraio concluded. “These guys are making money hand over fist.”

According to TLC spokesperson Allan Fromberg, the agency’s enforcement division has issued 3,067 summonses and seized 90 vans in various Queens precincts so far this year.

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