Tag Archives: New York State Federation of Taxi Drivers

Family mourns devoted father killed in his own cab


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy Chinedum Agwu

He came to the U.S. in search of the American Dream, but his brutal murder has left his family living a nightmare.

Nigerian cab driver Uro Orji Ama died after being stabbed in the eye with an umbrella shortly before Father’s Day weekend.

Cops found Ama in his 2000 Mercury Grand Marquis after responding to a traffic accident in Brooklyn on Thursday, June 13, police said.

Now his five children, ranging in age from 13 to 24, are in the midst of moving from Brooklyn to Rosedale to live with close relatives. Their mother is still in Nigeria.

“There are moments where [one of the children] will shout, ‘Daddy! Why did this happen?’” said Chinedum Agwu, Ama’s sister-in-law.

A few months ago, Ama, who was 54, brought the last of his children to the U.S. in the hope of providing for a better life.

Ama was known to work odd jobs even when he was in Nigeria in order to give his children a standard of living he had never known.

“Everything he did was [for] his kids,” Agwu, 30, said. “He wanted to lay the foundation for them to grow on. Each time you called him, he was at work or going to work.”

Ama was dropping off a man and a woman when the man stabbed him through the right eye with an umbrella, piercing Ama’s brain. The cab driver lost control of his car and crashed into parked vehicles. The motive for the stabbing is unknown at this time.

Cops arrived at the scene and rushed Ama to Brookdale University Hospital, where he was later pronounced dead, authorities said.

The NYPD is offering a $12,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the suspects, while the

New York State Federation of Taxi Drivers is offering an additional $5,000 reward.

Ama’s body will be sent back to Nigeria to be buried. His family is still working to schedule a wake in New York.

 

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Three men arrested for counterfeit auto parts after FBI raids in Queens, New Jersey


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com


Three men were arrested Tuesday on charges of selling counterfeit automotive parts to repair shops, after federal agents raided several locations including a warehouse in Astoria, said the FBI.

The parts were made to appear as though they were from official automotive companies and sold to repair shops including those that service yellow city taxis.

In a statement obtained by Fox New York, the New York State Federation of Taxi Drivers said that its “instructing bases, fleets, drivers, auto mechanic shops to recall any and all repairs or parts that were purchased from R&Y auto parts in Astoria because they might be counterfeit.”

 

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Bill would expand taxis to outer boroughs


| mpantelidis@queenscourier.com


The New York City Assembly recently “hailed” legislation that may prove “golden” for livery cabs.

The bill — passed on January 23 and carried by Assemblymember Carl Heastie from the Bronx — will allow the city to issue 18,000 hail accessible inter-borough licenses (HAIL), which permit livery cab drivers to pick up pedestrians. Twenty percent of the licenses will go to accessible vehicles, in order to offer more transportation options to citizens with disabilities. The legislation has already been agreed upon with Governor Andrew Cuomo and the state.

“For too long, persistent transportation problems within New York City have gone unanswered, leading to a nearly nonexistent taxi presence outside of Manhattan’s Central Business District and a troubling lack of vehicles for people with disabilities,” said Assemblymember Francisco Moya, who co-sponsored the bill. “This new plan will afford New Yorkers in underserved areas greater access to taxicab service in and around the city. This will also lead to more revenue for the city of New York, helping protect vital programs for seniors and hardworking families.”

Under the legislation, the city will issue the new licenses over the next three years. New York will also be authorized to issue as many as 450 new base permits, increasing the number of taxi dispatching services and generating $1.3 million in revenue.

In addition, the Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) will issue 2,000 new taxicab licenses for vehicles that are accessible to people with disabilities. As part of the agreement, TLC will also be required to provide grants of up to $15,000 to retrofit HAIL vehicles to accommodate people with disabilities and establish a program to support the introduction of handicapped-accessible vehicles into the HAIL vehicle fleet.

Despite the vast support the bill reportedly received in the Assembly, Fernando Mateo, the founder and spokesperson for the New York State Federation of Taxi Drivers, is unsure if the increase in HAIL’s will have a positive effect.

“This is a bill that the governor has signed, and we expected some amendments to be made by the Assembly and Senate,” Mateo said. “We are no longer going to oppose what has been done. Instead we will assist those drivers who want to participate in the program. We believe the program has a lot of pluses and minuses. In the last 80 years, there have been only 13,400 yellow medallions issued, so it is questionable in my mind whether they can sell even near the 18,000 licenses they will issue. The math doesn’t add up, and it doesn’t make much sense. But let’s see what will happen.”