The majority of the cars were seized at JFK National Airport, with high concentrations also in Midtown and the Upper East Side.
The seizures a part of a concerted effort on the part of the TLC to crack down on illegal pickups. A TLC spokesperson said that the commission has noticed “a marked increase in illegal street hail activity, largely at area airports, attributable to licensed FHVs acting beyond their licenses authorized parameter of pre-arranged work.”
Previously, the commission only seized unlicensed vehicles and would only issue warning summons to for-hire vehicles like Uber and Lyft that picked up customers off the street. But a policy in change in late April now allows the TLC to seize offending for-hire vehicles.
“Seizing vehicles...provides a greater deterrent effect than summons alone,” the spokesperson said.
Drivers who get their cars seized by the TLC will need to pay up — and that cost can fall anywhere between $400 and $1,000.
Though Uber and the TLC have a traditionally rocky relationship — aggravated most recently when Uber drivers protested a proposal by the TLC to regulate the technology behind the car service apps — the TLC said that it’s not out to get the car service startup.
“I understand that much emphasis has been placed on the number of Uber-affiliated vehicles among the total, but in fact, our officers do not know an FHV’s affiliation until after a violation has been observed and a car stop has taken place,” the spokesperson said.
Uber will automatically deactivate any car that engages in street hails, per the car service’s policy.
"This is a small group of bad actors and the violations add up to less than one hundredth of one percent of our rides over the same time period," a spokesperson for Uber said in a statement sent to Mashable.
Uber also faced a tough week in California, where the state's labor commission said that the ride-hailing app should pay some of its drivers for full-time work, including overtime.
[Mashable News Report]