Still waiting for a cab

Village delays decision on taxi petition


At a public hearing on Monday night, the village Board of Trustees agreed to postpone a decision on whether Village Car Service will be allowed to operate in Rockville Centre.

The session was the second since the Lynbrook-based taxi company appealed a rejection of its application for a license to provide transportation in the village. Village Administrator Keith Spadaro rejected the application in January, saying that Rockville Centre did not need another taxi service.

If it were granted a license, Village Car Service would be the village’s second taxi service. All Island Transportation is currently the only company licensed to operate within village borders, and has been the village’s primary car service for more than three decades.

Village Attorney A. Thomas Levin clarified the purpose of Monday’s hearing, explaining that the intention was not to hear the entire case again, but rather to hear additional public comment and allow Village Car Service, represented by attorney Allen Stein, a rebuttal.

Arnold Fleischer, a Milburn Street resident, spoke in favor of competing taxi services in the village. “On March 25, my wife and I came [back] from New York City to Rockville Centre and we wanted to take a taxi home,” Fleischer said. “At 11:25, we walked into the [All Island Transportation] office. There was a dispatcher there. We asked him how long it would be until the next taxi. He said, ‘Oh, about two minutes.’ … After another 10 minutes, we walked home.”

John Broder of Marvin Avenue, however, disagreed. A village resident of 35 years, Broder said he and his family used All Island for rides home from village events and to area airports, and they had good service from drivers with clean cabs.

“In those 35 years, I’ve never really had a problem,” Broder said. “… I think that what we have is terrific. I think they’re serving the community.”

In his rebuttal, Stein focused on the number of taxis All Island uses in the village, stressing a lack of service. “The village has permitted All Island Taxi to have up to a maximum of 21 taxis under their permit,” he said. “They presently employ 15 taxis at any particular time … If you simply look at the fact that this village has permitted 21 and they’re not providing 21, they’re providing 15, it does seem to be a shortfall.”

Lawrence Blessinger Jr., vice president of All Island, denied Stein’s claim, insisting that his company has nearly 20 cabs in operation. “We just put a new car on the road last week,” he said.

But Stein noted that the number of cabs is not the only issue. “There are many other villages that have more than one cab company,” he said. “And they exist. They coexist. It is my hope that you permit competition.”

The board has 60 days to reach a decision in the case.