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New York City TLC and CDLs Explained

If you want to make money driving your own car or by driving a bus or truck in New York City, you need to get a special driver’s license. Different classes of special driver’s licenses  are required to drive different vehicles. This article will break down what kind of license you need for every purpose.


If you want to drive a Taxi or for a service like Uber or Lyft:

You will need to upgrade your class D driver’s license to a class E driver’s license. On top of getting your class E license from the DMV, you also need to apply for additional licenses and permits from the Taxicab and Limousine Commission (TLC), including:

  • TLC license (Class E or commercial driver’s license needed to apply)
  • For-hire vehicle (FVH) 24 hour course
  • Defensive Driving Class
  • Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle (WAV) training

Visit the DMV website for more information on for-hire driver licensing requirements.


If you want to drive tractor trailers, busses, tankers, or shuttles:

You will need to get a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL). There are three classes of CDLs. Which one you need to apply for depends on several factors, including:

  • The number of axles and/or weight of the vehicle
  • The number of passengers the vehicle is able to transport
  • Whether or not you will be transporting hazardous materials

The three classes of Commercial Driver’s Licenses are:

  • Class A CDL: required for driving multiple vehicles over a certain weight, such as a tractor-trailer
  • Class B CDL: required for driving a single vehicle over a certain weight, such as a box truck
  • Class C CDL: required for driving certain other vehicles not covered by Class A or Class B CDLs

Visit the DMV website for more details on applying for a CDL and CDL classifications.


After you determine which type of license is right for you, go ahead and start preparing. The sooner you apply, the sooner you’ll be on the road making money!

P.S. Lyft is hiring on Merlin!



DMV Special Driver’s Licenses

DMV Applying for a CDL

DMV CDL classifications

Uber How to Get a TLC License