The New York City Taxi & Limousine Commission (TLC) licenses drivers and vehicles. Having a TLC drivers license (now known as the universal license) grants you the authority to transport passengers using a TLC licensed vehicle. If you’ve been to New York, you have probably noticed these TLC license plates on the roads. This license plate designates to passengers that the vehicle is licensed by the TLC and has passed inspection. So how do you get one of these license plates?
Step 1: Purchase or lease an approved vehicle
The first step is to purchase or lease an approved vehicle. You will need a copy of your bill of sale or lease agreement for insurance purposes. The TLC maintains different vehicle requirements for each of the license classes it regulates – black car, livery, taxi. App companies like Uber, Lyft and Gett typically fall into the Black Car base category. If you are looking to drive for one of these companies make sure that you purchase a vehicle that is at least 7 model years or newer. Be careful, since some vehicle models come out in the previous year. For example, a 2017 Toyota Camry may become available in 2016. Also keep in mind that if you buy a brand new vehicle that has less than 500 miles on the odometer, you will not have to go to TLC inspection, only visual inspection.
Step 2: Select a TLC base to affiliate with
You will need to affiliate your vehicle with a TLC approved dispatch base. App companies such as Uber, Lyft and Gett typically have their own TLC registered black car bases. Contact the base of your choosing to get what is known as a base letter. The base letter basically states that you intend to affiliate with the base of your choosing.
Step 3: Purchase TLC minimum required insurance
If your vehicle seats 8 or less people (most vehicles fall into this category). You will need to purchase commercial liability insurance with minimum limits of $100,000 per person, $300,000 per accident in bodily injury liability, $200,000 in no-fault coverage and $10,000 in property damage liability. Sound complicated? It’s really not, just remember to download the INSHUR app, scan your TLC license and in seconds you will get quotes from top carriers that conform to the minimum levels of insurance required by the TLC. Be aware that these are minimum levels of insurance and it’s sometimes advisable to purchase higher coverage. Also keep in mind that the TLC doesn’t require collision coverage, although it may make a whole lot of sense for you to purchase – find out if it makes sense for you here. Once your policy is issued, you will receive an FH1 (for-hire vehicle certificate), a certificate of insurance naming the TLC as a certificate holder and a declarations page showing your coverage. These documents will be securely stored in your INSHUR app, and will also be emailed to your account. Keep in mind that it may take a few days to process your application at the TLC, so pick an appropriate effective date to start your INSHUR TLC policy in the app.
Step 4: Prepare your TLC vehicle license application
The checklist of documents needed to get a TLC vehicle license can be found here – we are interested in the NEW APPLICATION column on pages 2-3. Your insurance requirements will be handled by the documents you will receive from INSHUR app.
Step 5: Submit TLC vehicle application
Once you have your documents prepared, you are now ready to submit the application to the TLC. There are two ways of handling this – you can file the application in person by scheduling your appointment here, or you can file all the required documents online without having to visit the TLC office at all – you can file these documents here. Just select Apply for a new license and select vehicle -> then follow the instructions to upload the required documents. Once your application is processed you will be provided a plate letter – this letter allows you to register your car at the DMV.
Step 6: Get your TLC plates and schedule an inspection (if needed)
You can now take the plate letter provided to you by the TLC, and your INSHUR insurance documents and bring it to a Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) location to register your vehicle and get TLC plates! Put your plates on your vehicle and hit the road. Make sure you upload a copy of your registration to the INSHUR app. But wait, there’s one more step – if you purchase a used vehicle with more than 500 miles on the odometer, you will need to schedule an inspection – contact your base that you affiliated with to schedule an appointment.
Once you have done these 5 steps, you will be ready to start transportation passengers and making money!