New York cabbies face new "professional" dress code

A man tries to board a taxi outside the Port Authority Bus Terminal in New York September 5, 2007. REUTERS/Eric Thayer

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - New York City’s cabdrivers will be subject to a new dress code, the Taxi and Limousine Commission said on Friday.

The regulations will instructing cabbies to “present a professional appearance,” said David Yassky, TLC commissioner.

An older dress code for taxi drivers has been on the books since 1987, when complaints about bedraggled and badly groomed drivers prompted the TLC to ban certain clothing, such as sleeveless shirts, short shorts and open-toed shoes.

Those rules were later relaxed and are rarely enforced.

The TLC head said the new rule is designed to be easier to follow.

“It will also have the positive effect of reminding drivers that, in a customer service-oriented industry, there are professional standards that have to be met,” Yassky said.

The new rule gives no definition of what constitutes a professional appearance.

Representatives of the New York Taxi Workers Alliance, which represents some 11,000 taxi drivers, were not available for comment.

The new rule is to be discussed at a public hearing in December.

Reporting by Bernd Debusmann Jr.; Editing by Ellen Wulfhorst and Jerry Norton