The New York City Council is trying to make life easier for the thousands of food vendors in NYC who choose to sell their goods on the street instead of in a traditional restaurant. Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and half a dozen other members of the City Council have introduced the Street Vending Modernization Act legislation, which would double the number of food vendor permits over the next seven years, the Times reports. Finally: a taco truck on every corner.
Since the '80s, the last time the number of food vendor permits was set, there's been a cap of 4,235 permits available at one time. The permits—which, like taxi medallions, are leased to an individual instead of a cart or truck—are a precious resource, and their scarcity has created an exploitative shadow economy that oppresses some of the city's most vulnerable residents, trapping them in a cycle of extortion.
Under the new legislation, 600 more licensed street vendors would be roaming the streets each year for the next seven years. Of those total 4,200 permits, the Times reports that preference would be given to the 2,500 people who are already on the city's waiting list for permits and 35 would be allotted to veterans and people with disabilities. The cost of a two year permit would rise to $1,000 from $200, but sales of the same permits on the black market can be upwards of $25,000.
Finally, the legislation promises to address some of the onerous restrictions imposed on mobile food vendors, which result in thousands of dollars in fines and make running this type of business even more difficult.