A new stand in the East Village comes as a relief to city taxi drivers and one small business. NY1’s Susan Jhun filed this report.
A new taxi relief stand on Avenue A between East 2nd and Houston Streets is a welcomed addition for cab drivers.
“It's a step in the right direction for taxi drivers,” says attorney Ali Najmi.
“Taxi drivers do about 40 pickups a day. They need a place to stop, use facilities, get something to eat, to pray, and this allows that to happen in a non-stressful manner,” says Taxi and Limousine Commissioner Meera Joshi.
It’s a joint effort between the TLC and Department of Transportation, supported by the community and assisted by the local community board. One of the greatest advocates for the stand has been Punjabi Grocery and Deli located on East 1st Street and Houston.
Last month, we told you about the small business' struggle to stay afloat while construction from The East Houston Reconstruction Project blocked access to the store's main customers.
“Eighty percent of our business has come from cabbies. We used to have metered parking all over here and that drove business. That's how cabbies could come and take a break after their 12-hour shift,” says Jashon Singh of Punjabi Grocery and Deli.
The 20-year-old shop lost a huge percent of its business after the city construction started back in 2010. When we meet with Punjabi's owners, they complained about the lack of progress with construction, limited information and a need for a taxi relief stand.
At the time, a spokeswoman for DOT told us the agency was working closely with the TLC on the possibly of placing a stand at the location. Now a month later, supporters of Punjabi are happy to see one placed close by but still have concerns.
“It should be 24/7. And there’s still construction that hasn’t finished. And there’s still construction that’s all over this block,” Najmi says.
For its part, a spokesman from the Department of Design and Construction says the agency has continued to reach out to Punjabi Deli. He went on to say they have started aggressively working at the site again and expect work to be done this summer.
“I want to thank NY1 for their support and advocacy on this issue. You really know how to support real New Yorkers,” Najmi says.
We will keep you updated.