When you think of New York City, one of the first things that come to mind is their big yellow taxi cabs. In recent years, ridesharing services, such as Uber and Lyft, have been taking their place and have slowly become a norm in the city that never sleeps. These services are typically cheaper than taking a regular yellow taxi cab and they are convenient, as all you need to do is press a few buttons to request a ride.
These ridesharing services aren’t just great for passengers, though. There are many benefits to becoming a driver. You can use your own vehicle, you can make your own schedule, there are surge/prime time bonuses, and drivers get paid weekly. If you have ever considered driving for one of these ridesharing companies, you should know that New York City has taken measures to ensure that drivers are qualified and that passengers will be safe during their transport. With that being said, all ridesharing drivers are required to obtain a Taxi and Limousine Commission, TLC license in NYC New York City.
For those that are not familiar with the process of obtaining your TLC driver’s license, here is what you will need to do to get your license. Please note that all steps must be completed within 90 days of starting the application process.
*Firstly, you must be at least 19 years old to receive your NYC TLC driver’s license. If you are younger than 19, your application will be immediately declined.
*Step 1: Upgrade your License. You must upgrade your existing NYC license to a Class E license. This is necessary for driving taxis (even your own personal car for taxi purposes) in New York. This may cost around $21 to $28, depending on how old your driver’s license is and your age. While at the DMV, if your driver’s license is going to expire soon, you should go through the process of license renewal.
*Step 2: Take a Defensive Driving Course. You must have taken a Defensive Driving Course within the last 18 months to keep your license in good standing. New York’s Defensive Driving Course is 6 hours long, includes information about traffic laws and safe driving, and is available at in-person classrooms or online for your convenience by wonderful companies, such as Improv Traffic School. The course price may vary but is usually around $30 to $40. Once you complete the course, your completion will be reported to the DMV and you will receive an official certificate of completion in the mail within 5-7 business days, which you will need to submit with your TLC application.
*Step 3: Get a Medical Exam. TLC requires that all drivers are “fit to operate a vehicle safely.” You will need to visit your primary healthcare provider and have them perform a physical exam. They will need to fill out and stamp the TLC Medical Exam report, which is available to download and print from the TLC website.
Now once previous steps have been completed:
*Step 4: Submit Initial TLC Application. Go to nyc.gov/taxi, scroll down to “LARS” and click “Apply for license.” Then you should select the license that you would like to receive, the TLC Driver’s License. While there, make sure to watch the 10 minute video on sex trafficking, as this is a required part of your application. Please note that there is a $252 application fee and it is non-refundable, even if your application is denied.
*Step 5: Take a Wheelchair Class and 24-Hour Taxi School Course. All TLC license applicants are required to complete a 24-hour Taxi School course and pass the exam. Some taxi schools that you can use include: Master Cabbie, Hanac NYC Taxi Academy, LaGuardia Taxi Institute, Abba Training School, and Knowledge Seekers, Inc. The price of the course is $175 and the exam fee is $75. In addition, in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), TLC drivers are required to pass a Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle training class. It is about 3 hours long and upon completion, you will receive a wallet-sized certificate of completion. The price of the class is $75. It is best to complete these classes as soon as possible to prevent any delay in receiving your TLC license.
*Step 6: Submit your Documents/Paperwork to TLC. TLC does not accept appointments to hand in documents, but you can submit all required documents to the email address email@example.com.
*Step 7: Take a Drug Test. Call 1-800-923-2624 to make an appointment for your drug test. You can take your drug test at any LabCorp office, but it is recommended that you take your test at the location that is in the same building as the TLC office. All you have to do is show up, provide your license, pay the $26 fee, and pee in the cup. If you do not hear from TLC after the test, then you passed and you do not have anything to worry about. If you test positive for any drugs, TLC will mail you a letter letting you know that your application has been denied.
*Step 8: Get your Fingerprint Taken. Go to https://ny.ibtfingerprint.com/ to schedule your fingerprint appointment and have your photo and fingerprint taken. The price for the fingerprinting fee is $75.
*Step 9: Wait for License in the Mail. As long as the prior steps were all completed, you have no outstanding fines to the government, and your application was not denied at any point along the way, your TLC driver’s license will be issued and you will receive it in the mail within a few weeks of passing your Taxi School Course final exam. You can look up the status of your application online at any time by going to nyc.gov/newdriverapplookup
*Step 10: Get out there and drive!!!