2007-05-04 / Community

TLC Responds To Story Of Car Service Suspension

By Howard Schwach

By Howard Schwach

"The law is the law," says Allan Fromberg, the Deputy Commissioner for Public Affairs for the city's Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC)." We have an obligation to make sure that [taxi and car services] do not negatively impact the community, that there is off-street parking and that it is not a residential area. Our job is to enforce the law and their job is to comply with the law."

Fromberg was reacting to a story in last week's Wave that detailed the problems of Bob Murphy, who is the owner and operator of Beach Car Service.

Murphy told The Wave that he was forced to move from his old location at Beach 95 Street and Rockaway Beach Boulevard in November because his landlord had sold the building and the new owners wanted to use the space for something other than a car service.

Figuring that it would be easy to get his license switched to his new location at 91-13 Rockaway Beach Boulevard, Murphy says that he went to the TLC to tell them about the move.

While Murphy moved his service in November, however, Fromberg says that he did not make application to the TLC until March 1, four months after he made the move.

"On March 16, we made a visit to the base station and found that they had already moved," Fromberg says, adding that the TLC issued a summons for moving without permission, which was paid on March 19.

The same day, Fromberg says, his agency told Murphy that he was missing a critical piece of the process, an environmental impact statement that would show the move had no negative problems for the community.

"That is crucial, and it is required with every application," Fromberg said. "Those applications have to go before the Board of Commissioners, a group that meets only once a month and he had already missed the deadline to make the agenda for the April and May meetings."

Fromberg added that because of the problems faced by Murphy, the agency was trying to get him on the agenda for the May 10 meeting.

Murphy, however, thinks that the city has been unfair in his treatment and in that of other small businesspeople.

"I have been shut down since April 20," Murphy said. "We have a lot of people, including frail and sick elderly people, who depend on us to get them where they need to go. This is having a very negative impact on our customers and they are going to go elsewhere. The city should not be in the business of shutting down small business people who always obey the law."

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