Sutphin LIRR gets new, safe cab stand

TimesLedger Newspapers

Commuters who frequent downtown Jamaica now have a new, safe transportation option.

The city Taxi and Limousine commissioner, David Yassky, showcased the new “Ride Safe” livery cabstand last Thursday outside the Long Island Rail Road station on Sutphin Boulevard.

The black and yellow booth, which was established in September, is staffed with an on-site dispatcher 24 hours a day, seven days a week who calls for a cab to pick up patrons from the spot.

“The goal is to give customers the service they deserve,” he said.

The program was created through a partnership between the TLC, LIRR, Greater Jamaica Development Corp. and the private livery company Queens Village Car Service, which is providing the cabs for customers. Queens Village Car Service cabs are queued up for dispatch and the booth electronically records the passenger’s trip information.

Riders can also use their credit cards to pay for their trips, according to the TLC commissioner.

Yassky said downtown Jamaica has become a growing destination for visitors from around the globe due to the addition of the AirTrain terminal at John F. Kennedy International Airport eight years ago.

Despite the easier access to JFK, many visitors to the downtown area, particularly Queens residents, need to get to other parts of the borough and are forced to take a livery cab. Yassky said that option posed a serious risk to many commuters not only because the cab may be overcharging them, but it also may be unlicensed.

“What you had here before was a free-for-all,” he said.

Two weeks ago, dispatchers discontinued their operations at a yellow cab taxi stand in Flushing and immediately became inundated with livery cabs. The state is currently working on a bill that would allow livery cabs to pick up hails from riders in the outerboroughs.

Yassky, who has been pushing for the bill’s passage, said a new law allowing livery hails and future stands would be beneficial for Queens commuters.

“There are a lot of hubs like this,” he said.

Carlisle Towery, Greater Jamaica’s president, said the Jamaica hub will get a bigger boost in a few months when the Sutphin Underpass station is completed. The project will bring a state-of-the-art commercial corridor to the area underneath the LIRR tracks on Sutphin Boulevard.

Reach reporter Ivan Pereira by e-mail at ipereira@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4546.

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