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What is a TLC License & When Do You Need One To Drive?

Learn the basics of a TLC license, including what they are, when you need one, and the steps required to apply for one of your own.

Key Takeaways

  • TLC license is required for driving taxis or rideshares in NYC.
  • Ensures drivers are qualified, and vehicles pass safety inspections.
  • Costs $598.25 to $698.25, covering license, tests, and training fees.
  • Application involves drug test, medical exam, defensive driving course.

What Is a TLC License?

A TLC (Taxi and Limousine Commission) license is a mandatory certification for drivers who wish to operate yellow cabs, black cabs, limousines, or green taxis in New York City, as well as for those driving for rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft.

This license is issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and is not simply acquired through filling out an application; it requires drivers to meet specific licensing levels and standards.

The necessity of a TLC license stems from its role in ensuring public safety and trust.

It serves as a guarantee to passengers that the vehicle they intend to use is operated by a qualified driver and has undergone and passed all necessary inspections regarding safety and performance.

This is particularly important in today’s economy where many individuals use their private vehicles for commercial purposes through rideshare platforms.

Having a TLC license signifies that a driver adheres to a higher standard of driving quality and has complied with additional regulations, offering an extra layer of security for both passengers and drivers.

How Much Does a TLC License Cost?

The total cost for obtaining a TLC license ranges from $598.25 to $698.25, varying based on the chosen payment method and the type of training undertaken. The breakdown of costs includes:

  • $252 for a three-year license,
  • $32 for drug testing,
  • $90.25 for photos and fingerprinting,
  • $100 to $175 for a mandatory 24-hour class,
  • $49 for the exam, which is charged per attempt,
  • $50 to $75 for wheelchair assistance training,
  • $25 for a defensive driving course.

These fees collectively cover the necessary steps to acquire a TLC license, encompassing licensing, testing, and training expenses.

How to Get a TLC License

So now we arrive at the critical part of the process – actually applying for and receiving your TLC license.

You must have a comprehensive understanding of the license requirements and follow the application process precisely.

Many drivers fail to complete one of the steps involved in applying for the license and then face administrative issues later. So make sure you review the following in detail before you begin the process.

vector graphic of a hand holding a tlc license

The TLC License Requirements

Per the TLC license requirements, you must meet each of the following criteria:

  • You’re 19 years of age or older on completing the application.
  • You have a DMV chauffeur’s license, Class A, B, C, or E.
  • You have a Social Security Number.
  • You don’t owe any fines to the NYS DMV or TLC.
  • You have no more than 5 points on your DMV license within a 15 month-period dating back to your most recent violation date.

The TLC License Application Process

Once you’ve made sure you meet the licensing requirements, you can then move forward with the application process.

Step 1: Apply for Your Class E License

Start your TLC license application by obtaining a Class E license, a must-have for taxi drivers in New York State. This involves a vision test by a licensed medical professional to ensure you can clearly see road signs and distant lettering.

Remember to bring your current license to the DMV for the Class E application. The upgrade fee ranges from $20 to $30, depending on when your current license expires.

Step 2: Watch the Entire Sex Trafficking Video on the TLC Site

New York State mandates all aspiring TLC drivers to watch a video on sex trafficking. This important video highlights the indicators of trafficking victims.

Watching it is critical, as your license will note your understanding and commitment to being vigilant.

Step 3: Submit Your Complete TLC Application

Next, complete the TLC application form, providing details like your Social Security Number, driver’s license number, and contact information. A valid email is essential for communication about your application’s status.

Step 4: Pay the Application Fee

With your application, submit a $252 fee. Ensure you’re ready to engage in the upcoming training and requirements over the next three months since this fee is non-refundable.

Step 5: Schedule Classwork and Upload Your Documents

Arrange for your defensive driving course and medical review. Contact driving schools to secure a spot in a TLC-approved course.

Step 6: Complete the Required Schoolwork

After finishing the defensive driving course, you’ll get a certificate to upload to the TLC portal. Additional training includes wheelchair assistance and a TLC driver education course, covering local geography, map reading, and passenger communication skills.

Step 7: Undergo a Medical Exam

Undergo a medical examination by a TLC-approved doctor, checking vision and basic health metrics to confirm your fitness for driving.

Step 8 Get a Drug Test

Book and complete a drug test at a TLC-approved facility. Passing this test is crucial for your application’s success.

Checking Your TLC License Status

You can check your TLC license status by inputting your license number, application number, and the last five digits of your Social Security Number on the TLC portal.

Tips for Getting a TLC License (Best Practices)

The following are expert tips for ensuring success in the licensing process:

  • Take the time to learn about the geography of the city before the exam.
  • Be open and honest about your medical history during the medical exam.
  • Refresh your memory of street signs and traffic laws.
  • Make time for training – ensure you can complete all tests within 90 days of your application.
  • Read all the licensing requirements twice before you apply – it’s easy to miss one step that might cause the DMV to deny your application.

How to Renew a TLC License

You can renew your TLC license up to 90 days before it expires.

To start the renewal process, you must first pay any outstanding fines you owe to the city. Then use the state’s LARS system to pay your renewal fees.

Then submit the following documents via the TLC UP system:

  • Your current for-hire TLC insurance certificate
  • An up-to-date vehicle inspection report
  • A certificate of completion from your defensive driving course (cannot be older than three years)
  • A DMV driver’s abstract

Frequently Asked Questions

vector image showing the different types of class a b c d drivers license types laid out on background

Can you get a TLC license with a felony?

Obtaining a TLC license with a felony depends on the nature of the crime.

Felonies involving substance abuse, violence, and sexual abuse may lead to a permanent ban, while crimes like fraud, theft, harassment, and abuse could result in at least a one-year ban from the TLC system.

Each case is reviewed individually, necessitating direct consultation with the DMV for the application process.

Can you get a TLC license with points?

You can obtain a TLC license with points on your driving record, but accumulating six or more points within 15 months leads to a suspension of up to 30 days. Accumulating ten or more points within the same period results in revocation by the DMV.

I lost my TLC license. What should I do?

If your TLC license is lost, immediately schedule an appointment with the DMV for a replacement. Bring all original application documents, including government-issued photo ID, Social Security Number, and TLC course and test details.

Following these steps precisely will help you efficiently replace your license and continue driving for hire in New York State.

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