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Ticket Sellers Would Have to Get License From City Under New Council Bill

By Maya Rajamani | April 13, 2016 12:27pm
 Ticket sellers speak to tourists near the Staten Island Ferry. Many have called for more of a crack-down on illegal vendors.
Ticket sellers speak to tourists near the Staten Island Ferry. Many have called for more of a crack-down on illegal vendors.
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DNAinfo/Irene Plagianos

TIMES SQUARE — Ticket sellers throughout the city could be required to pay $125 per year to the city to get a license under a new bill introduced in the City Council.

Street vendors who sell tour bus, comedy club, ferry boat and other tickets to tourists and passersby are currently regulated by rules at the state level, but a bill introduced Tuesday by City Council members including Dan Garodnick would require ticket sellers to hold a valid city-issued license, a spokeswoman for Garodnick said.

Ticket vendors would also face fines as high as $1,000 for peddling in unauthorized areas or making “fraudulent, misrepresentative or false statements” while selling tickets — a nod to comedy club ticket sellers who have made headlines for swindling customers by falsely claiming to be offering tickets to big-name shows.

Advocates have increased calls for help dealing with the “mayhem” in lower Manhattan near the Staten Island Ferry Terminal, where aggressive ticket sellers, some of whom are operating illegally, hound tourists.

“This group of sellers has gone unregulated for too long,” Garodnick said. People looking to ride a tour bus, cruise the Hudson, or see a show deserve the confidence that the money they spend will get them what they bought.”

Along with requiring ticket sellers to have a valid license — which they will have to pay $125 for an up-front fee and $125 a year — the legislation will make it illegal for anyone to sell or give tickets to an unlicensed ticket seller.

That includes entities like comedy clubs doling out tickets to street vendors, a spokeswoman for Garodnick said.

Ticket sellers will be required to wear their licenses “conspicuously at all times” while they are conducting business.

They will also be restricted from selling tickets in areas including bus stop and taxi stands, within pedestrian plazas — unless the DOT authorizes it — on the median of a roadway or in city parks, unless they have written permission from the city’s Parks Department.

The city will reserve the right to refuse to issue or renew a license if the seller has unanswered summons or hasn’t paid penalties for any violations of the legislation. Fines will range from $50 to $1,000, depending on the number of violations.

Sellers would be required to keep a written record of their daily sales and expenses.

The bill comes less than a week after the City Council passed a bill that will restrict Times Square’s costumed characters, topless “desnudas” and ticket sellers to designated zones within the area’s pedestrian plazas.

Ticket sellers voiced their objections to that bill at a hearing and a rally in Times Square prior to the legislation’s passage.