November 26th, 2010
08:55 PM ET

Proposed dress code for NYC cabbies asks less of drivers

New York's famous (infamous?) taxi drivers may get a new dress code in 2011 that's shorter in form than the current version but broader in intent.

As it's written now, section 4-15 (b) of the Taxicab Drivers Rules manual (PDF) states that drivers face a $25 fine for failing to be "clean and neat in dress and person." In terms of specifics, that means a driver may not wear underwear, tank tops, tube tops, body shirts, swimwear, bathing trunks or cut-off shorts as outer clothing.

A proposed amendment would replace the list of prohibited apparel (PDF) with a more general requirement: that a driver "present a professional appearance."

The Taxi and Limousine Commission will hold a public hearing on the proposed rules December 16. In the meantime, the agency is accepting comments through the NYC Rules website until December 6.

"The TLC believes that a general requirement better states its concerns and that a detailed list is outmoded and impractical," the city agency said in a public notice on its website. "The TLC believes that the public is entitled to drivers who present a neat and professional appearance."

TLC Chairman David Yassky told the New York Times that the change, which is expected to be approved at the December hearing, is part of an effort to simplify the 62-page rulebook.

The executive director of drivers' advocacy group told the Times said she was shocked to hear that a driver could be fined for his or her sartorial choices.

“What was it about? Somebody wore shorts?” asked Bhairavi Desai, executive director of the New York Taxi Workers Alliance. “I would be concerned if the idea of professional attire is left to the naked eye to decide.”

The new rule is bundled with a seemingly unrelated proposal that eliminates the need for drivers to inform passengers at the start of the trip that they must pay for any tolls, under the basis that "the riding public is aware, generally, that passengers are responsible for tolls."

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Filed under: New York • Travel
soundoff (59 Responses)
  1. jabausatii

    Well this is just another way of the government to suck our money to fill up their budgets. They always screw up on citizens' expense while stacking billions in their own bank accounts.

    November 28, 2010 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
  2. J.V.

    The real issue is not telling riders about the tolls. Most who take cabs from the outer boroughs are out-of-towners and they need to know. The clothing thingy should be mandatory and couple that with bathing and deodorant.

    November 28, 2010 at 4:37 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Manny

    Too many rules to make people conform. If you see a driver that dresses offensively to you, take a different cab or walk your fat rear end to the subway or your destination. If he's the kind of person who drives a cab in his tighty whities, I don't want him to hide it. I want to know so I can avoid that person.

    November 28, 2010 at 5:55 pm | Report abuse |
  4. slikrik

    As a limo driver here in Houston we are required to wear business dress attire and coats (ties included) are optional from June-Nov according to City of Houston Ordinances....and still you see and smell the slobs... Give Cabbies a break if they are clean and presentable...

    November 28, 2010 at 6:05 pm | Report abuse |
  5. ellio

    Cabbies should be required to wear uniforms. cops, bus drivers, nurses, and everyone who works basically wear uniforms. im a nurse how would u feel if i did a checkup on you wearing jeans and a polo?

    November 28, 2010 at 9:46 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Annoyed at ignorance

    Many of you seem to be speaking of stereotypes as opposed to actual experiences. I've never in many cab rides as a native new yorker had an unpleasant cab ride. Some are a bit fast, but efficient. All have been appropirately dressed and clean smelling.

    There are many people across all different fields of work who have hygeine and body odor issues, so to say this is a cabbie issue is beyond ignorant.

    Either way give these guys a break. The fees to rent a taxi are astronomical! Not to mention car fixes (they run 24 hrs a day), gas prices, and TONS of taxes to subsidise the MTA, some of which come from the cabbies themselves!
    Its a wonder how they make ends meet with so little in return for so many expenses.

    ...And lastly, they can't deny the drunken/vomit passengers because they can- and are heavily (as reported in news media) heavily fined and ticketed for such acts.

    Maybe think twice about your poor cabbie, after all, he or she work 12 hour shifts at a time. Which is more than many of us do.

    November 29, 2010 at 2:39 am | Report abuse |
  7. you

    Some taxis are yellow

    November 29, 2010 at 4:32 am | Report abuse |
  8. john

    Come 2 mpls where they dont speak english dont know where to go will not take you if you are carrying liquor. Give me london police tested cabbie. Always dressed appropriatly clean non smelling driver and cab!

    November 29, 2010 at 10:46 am | Report abuse |
  9. Fix

    If most people look in their employee guide book, they would realize that almost every job out there has a hygeine guideline and a dress code "guideline" for their employees. This are designed for a pleasant appearing and pleasant smelling company. I am a nurse? Just think on this question: How competent would you belief I am if I came into your hospital room smelling badly (or wearing too much perfume), unkempt/wrinkled/dirty clothes on, and not groomed hair? The same rule should apply to all jobs/professions.

    November 29, 2010 at 6:31 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Fix

    I have visited NYC many times and have always walked to where I am going. I would not know that I owed tolls unless I was notified verbally or with a written notice as I got into the cab. It is no wonder taxi drivers get a bad rep when passengers are not notified in advance. Rates are written on the door, so why not information on tolls. Most of us cannot afford to buy things without some sort of pricing being advertised in advance. Why should taxi rides be any different?

    November 29, 2010 at 6:42 pm | Report abuse |
  11. lady blu

    Happy that I own a car..... Any who I dnt think I'll get in a car wit a person I dnt no in there underwear...........NOP NOT AT ALL HELL NO.......

    November 29, 2010 at 7:50 pm | Report abuse |
  12. idiotproof

    It seems to me that they want to shorten the "62" page rulebook to make it easier for idiots that dropped out of school to read.Or for the non-english speaking just so they can get a job.

    November 29, 2010 at 11:06 pm | Report abuse |
  13. reid

    All u F Ing Idiots Get A Life And Stop Worring About Cabbies. How About World Hunger?

    November 30, 2010 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Jean

    Big deal! They gotta have a dress code. They should of done that a long time ago. Every job requires "dress codes, " no matter what race you are. Get over it.

    December 1, 2010 at 10:36 am | Report abuse |
  15. Lovin life

    Acey I think they mean Thermal Undies,not actual

    December 1, 2010 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse |
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