FROM THE MAYOR’S DESK......
Even during these tough times, when government budgets are being stretched to the max, we’re committed to protecting the quality-of-life that underpins our economy. That means ensuring New Yorkers have the same access to high-quality services, no matter where they live. And it means tapping technology to deliver our most basic services in better ways.
Few of those services are more basic than the delivery of our worldfamous drinking water. And last week we unveiled a new program that will help homeowners and business owners stop water leaks before they become major drains on their finances. The new program relies on the wireless water meter readers that we’re installing throughout the city, which will make New York’s water system the largest in the world to use such wireless technology.
The wireless meter readers transmit readings every six hours. This is a huge improvement over the old system, in which someone had to visit each property and manually read the meter every three months. And now that we are getting frequent readings, we can let customers know almost immediately whenever we detect an unusual spike in their water usage, which is usually a tip-off to a leak.
These are situations where time really does mean money, and where prompt repairs can mean big savings. In fact, one customer from Flushing who’s already hooked up to the new system said she saved thousands of dollars in water charges thanks to an alert we sent her. If you own a single-family or two-or three-family residence and would like the same peace of mind, you can sign up for this free service too by going to nyc.gov or by calling 311.
Now let’s talk about another iconic feature of New York that we are working to improve: our yellow cabs. In recent months, we’ve been cracking down on a problem that infuriates many New Yorkers getting around town. Maybe it’s even happened to you: You try to hail a taxi, but the cab driver refuses to take you based on the destination you want to go to. The driver might give you a number of reasons why — but the bottom line is he has no legitimate or legal excuse.
We are a city of five boroughs, and it doesn’t matter which borough you’re coming from or which borough you’re going to. New York cab drivers are required by law to take you to any destination in the city. Period. It’s part of the contract they agree to when they sign up for the job. And it’s also clearly written in the Taxicab Rider Bill of Rights, which is posted in the backseat of every cab.
Now, let me stress that most cab drivers obey the rules. But the Taxi & Limousine Commission has been conducting sting operations to catch those who don’t. You can watch undercover videos of these operations on the Mayor’s YouTube page. We are also working with the City Council to increase the penalties against drivers who continue to flout the rules. And we’re asking for the public’s help as well: If you ever are denied taxi service, report it. With 311, it’s never been easier – and every complaint will help us crack down on bad drivers and make sure everyone in our city gets treated the same, no matter where they live.