New driver question regarding JFK Airport Drop Off - John F Kennedy Airport question

Alexuber

New Member
Hello,

I'm a new driver in North NJ. I have a question regarding Airports Drop Offs. I understand it's riskier to pick up at Newark airport than it is to drop off. I have no intentions of picking up passengers in Airports, I will stick to picking up in residential areas and just drop off at Airports. However, my first question is, before dropping off a passenger at Newark Airport should I have the passenger sit in the front? Has anyone had issues dropping off at Newark Airport?

My second question: what about JFK Airport? I heard JFK Airport is very strict and understand it's illegal to pick up passengers in JFK Airport for NJ Uber drivers, but has anyone had issues dropping off at JFK airport? I've read on the news that TLC Inspectors at JFK Airport have impounded thousands of cars in the last few years and in some cases they have unjustly impounded vehicles from people dropping off friends or family members. Should I have to worry if I'm dropping off a passenger at JFK Airport?

And my final question is: Can I refuse (cancel) a request to JFK Airport? I have no problems with dropping off at Newark Airport, but can I cancel a fare to JFK or La Guardia? Will that affect my ratings? I figure most airport fares from NJ will probably be to Newark Airport anyways, so will canceling those few NYC airport fares hurt my ratings?

Thanks

For example this news source shows how JFK Airport's TLC inspectors impound vehicles:



NEW YORK CITY — TLC inspectors frequently make seizures at popular pick-up and drop-off spots, including Midtown hotels, the cruise terminals on the west side of Manhattan and La Guardia. The No. 1 spot, though, is JFK Airport.

A DNAinfo New York review of decisions by the Taxi and Limousine Tribunal judges shows that in the past year and a half, hundreds of people going about their daily routines had their cars seized because TLC inspectors suspected they were unlicensed cabbies.

DNAinfo found that, between Jan. 1, 2013, and June 13, 2014, the tribunal adjudicated 7,187 cases involving accusations that a driver was operating an illegal cab or the owner of the car allowed someone to use their vehicle as one.

Tribunal judges — who are independent decision makers — dismissed 1,442 of those cases. Many of them were dismissed because the inspectors didn’t follow the law or ignored the explanation of the driver or passenger. Of those, 176 drivers had their cases dismissed after proving that their passengers were family members, friends or neighbors.

They included a retired MTA worker dropping off his girlfriend at her job at the Queens Astoria dad taking his teenage daughter and her friend to school and a Brooklyn retiree who volunteers at a convent giving nuns a lift to JFK Airport in his minivan.

While the drivers proved their innocence, they still had their vehicles temporarily seized and either went without a car for weeks while they awaited their hearing at the tribunal in Long Island City and shell out hefty sums to get their cars back.

A review of the 1,442 decisions also showed:

• The inspectors frequently didn’t know the rules or ignored them. Judges dismissed 108 cases because, while the driver was a non-TLC-licensed cabbie, the pick-up occurred outside New York City. The law permits these drivers to pick up passengers outside city limits and bring them into the boroughs.

TLC spokesman Allan Fromberg defended the agency’s vehicle seizures, noting that the system works because each accused driver or owner gets a day in court.

“It‘s true that there are occasions when a situation is not always as it might appear to an inspector, even after establishing a basis of reasonable suspicion, investigating what facts are available and interviewing those involved,” he said.

The TLC has roughly 170 enforcement inspectors. They wear badges and bulletproof vests and can make arrests, but they do not carry guns.

The inspectors generally work in pairs within a squad of 10, fanning out across a swath of the city.

Sometimes they partner with the NYPD whose officers also have the power to seize a car suspected of being an illegal for-hire service. Port Authority officers can also make seizures — but they and NYPD officers only account for a small percentage of cases.

Inspectors seized Cirilo Fortunato’s son’s minivan last year when he borrowed it to drop off nuns who were visiting from another country at JFK Airport.

The 70-year-old retiree volunteers for an order of Catholic nuns who run Centro Maria, a residence for young women. Every Friday, Fortunato drives 29 miles outside the city to pick up bread that’s donated to the sisters. However, last July the order asked him to take two nuns to the airport because its car wasn’t working that day.

“The way it was explained to me, some of [the nuns] come from countries with a lot of crime so they don't feel safe getting in a taxi," said Fortunato, who speaks limited English. "The nuns ask me to drive them so that they don't have to get a taxi."

When they arrived at the terminal, he went to get the nuns luggage out of the trunk and inspectors stopped him. Fortunato said since the inspectors didn’t speak Spanish, he didn’t fully understand what was going on.

Fortunato’s son’s car was seized and he spent three hours getting back to his Coney Island home.

A July 10, 2013, decision regarding Fortunato’s case said the inspectors claimed they witnessed an exchange of money. Through an interpreter, Fortunato explained his affiliation with the order and got the case dismissed.

"[The inspectors] told me that [the nuns] gave me money, but they never gave me money,” he said. “They told me that the people I dropped off said they paid me. They definitely did not."

Fortunato’s run-in with inspectors came during a dramatic increase in TLC vehicle seizures in 2013. The rise was due to the agency contracting with a Brooklyn towing firm to expand its impound storage space.

By December 2013, halfway through the city’s 2014 fiscal year, TLC inspectors had seized 4,470 vehicles, according to an agency press release. By comparison, inspectors seized 1,222 vehicles for the entire 2010 fiscal year, records show.

The seizures are a revenue producer for the city. Accused drivers or the owners of the allegedly illegal cab can plead guilty, but must pay a fine of at least $600 and hundreds of dollars more for the cost of towing and impoundment.

The accused also have the option of posting a $2,000 bond to get their car out of an impound lot while they wait for their day in court. If they win, they get the money back.

Retired MTA bus maintainer John Brunson, 65, said even though he won his case, he ended up spending $1,200 on a rental car, a lawyer and towing fees.

The South Ozone Park resident had his black 2005 Dodge Magnum seized on Sept. 19, 2013, after he dropped his girlfriend off at her job at the Resorts World Casino in Queens. When she got out of the front passenger seat, she handed him a flier from Wal-Mart, where the two had been earlier in the day.

TLC Inspectors believed it was dollar bills and, working with the NYPD, they stopped his car as he left the casino’s parking lot.

“I told them, 'Look I've been dropping off my girlfriend for almost a year now. I come here at least 10 times a week. I drop her off and pick her up,'” he recalled. “I said if you don't believe me, let's go back to the casino.”

Brunson said he tried to call his girlfriend on the phone, but her phone was off because casino employees aren't allowed to keep them on. He offered the inspectors and the NYPD officer the personnel number at the casino, but they refused to call it.

He won his case at the Taxi and Limousine Tribunal on the afternoon of Oct. 11.

Normally, defendants who win get paperwork so they can immediately retrieve their cars. But when Brunson went the next day to Knights Towing’s impound lot in Bushwick, he was told that the TLC hadn’t signed off yet. He said he had to wait three more days and was forced to pay $320 in impound fees.

“The only thing they're interested in is taking your car away and making you pay money,” Brunson said.

He and his girlfriend are both black. He believes that the TLC inspectors racially profiled him.

The TLC has said that its inspectors receive training and follow strict guidelines for vehicle seizures that do not refer to the race or ethnicity of a suspected illegal for-hire driver.

Brunson said at his tribunal hearing he reached a different conclusion.

“When I went to court, 95 percent of the people there were immigrants and minorities, just hardworking people trying to make a living,” Brunson said.

“I wasn't surprised. Knowing the way this system works, it didn't surprise me.”
 

tradedate

Well-Known Member
I strongly recommend you read the New Jersey and New York City sections on here. There's a lot of existing information about the airport rules and other area specific info that may be helpful to you as a new driver.

Comb through the advice section and other parts of this website. You'll learn a lot more than you did in the 15 minute training video.

Also message Uber support with specific questions about where you can and cannot drive, including specific questions about individual answers. If they give you a non-sensical answer, call them out on it and make them address your question again. There's power in having an answer in writing.
 
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