Source: mikealex/Flickr

Governor Andrew Cuomo is set to sign a bill today that will allow livery cab drivers to pick up hailing pedestrians from Brooklyn, Upper Manhattan and other areas poorly served by yellow taxis.

“I think no one thought we would ever get this done,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg – one of the bill’s strongest advocates – told the New York Times. “It’s a huge victory for all New Yorkers who ever sought to hail a cab outside Manhattan and in northern Manhattan.”

The bill will create a new class of taxis that will include metered fares, roof lights, and credit card payments. They are set to make their debut next year.

“I can tell you, as a boy from Queens, the cab service in the outer boroughs is truly difficult,” said the governor.

Eighteen thousand permits for the new livery cabs will be issued by the New York City Taxi & Limousine Commission, with 2,000 of those new vehicles to be handicapped accessible. The high number of permits issued caused some of the bill’s sponsors to eventually oppose its passage, most notably State Senator Marty Golden.

Also, $54 million in subsidies and loans will be provided by the city to encourage drivers to purchase vehicles that attend to disabled passengers. The public sale of the new medallions are expected to raise at least $1 billion for the city.

With lobbiests for the yellow cab industry opposed to the bill from the beginning, it might still face legal challenges from those who feel that by allowing livery cabs to accept hails from pedestrians, the value of their medallions would decrease and it will also create competition amongst the drivers.

“We hope this new bill has the teeth to protect our industry, and we will cooperate with the governor to achieve this goal,” said the Metropolitan Taxicab Board of Trade, a group who opposed the bill.

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  • NSF

    I sympathize with individual medallion owners, who like my father did decades ago, work hard to pay for it, but they’ve only themselves to blame for ignoring riders in the outer boroughs and even refusing to take Manhattan fares to Brooklyn and other boroughs. Let’s hope they city keeps as sharp an eye on livery drivers, as they do on the yellow cabs, for violations and other means they use to try and rip off the public.

    • nolastname

      I was thinking what does this do the the value of a medallion? They do cost as much as a house and were limited in numbers.

  • Kiska777

    “… a huge victory for all New Yorkers who ever sought to hail a cab outside Manhattan and in northern Manhattan…” – granted there are street hails, but other than that there are car services… and I think their business is being cut into, by this new bill… Plus, if you live in the neiborhood, you know local spot’s phone numbers, a local cab comapny as well… So these drivers will hustle around car service bases and look for clients?? Because I dont think they will drive around, aimlessly, looking for possible street hails to pick up… Am I wrong?

  • Andrew Kent

    The question is, with so many livery cabs cruising for street hails, will it become more difficult to have one pick you up at your home or a specific location?  As a disabled Brooklynite, I welcome the addition of wheelchair-accessible taxis and livery cabs, although these, too, should be available for home calls as it is often more difficult for wheelchair users to manage a street hail, particularly in inclement weather.

    BTW, any plan that expands traveling opportunities for disabled New Yorkers and tourists is good for the city’s economy.  Currently, many wheelchair users use Access-a-Ride for the price of a bus or subway fare, but the rides are often long and circuitous, must be scheduled a day in advance, and cost the City many times the fare revenue in Federally-mandated subsidies. Giving wheelchair users the flexibility of using taxis and liveries for ad hoc trips will add considerably to their mobility while reducing their reliance on the more costly Access-a-Ride service.

  • TITANIUMDX

    This was only passed to fill the city coffers, but without any real benefit to the taxi industry or the drivers.Street hails are not necesary these days, a car service can be request through-out the 5 boroughs by phone, mobile apps, or through there respective websites.At the convenience of any location, be it home, job, lobby, club, etc; a car service can be requested without the need to be hailing a cab on the street in bad weather.Now if the riding public can’t make a simple call or use a mobile app to request a car service, then we are all doomed.

  • TITANIUMDX

    Great plan to fill the coffers of the city.
    This will only cause loses for bases, dispatcher, and unneccesary roaming of drivers; and let’s not forget the extra accidents and pollution this will cause. Cabs and car services are already pretty cheap, even though there is such high overhead costs of insurance, car purchase, repairs, fuel, leases, licensing, and government regulations. Most of the riding public doesn’t take those issues into account, and they don’t really care. They just want a cheap ride close to nothing. The taxi industry is not sustainable at the prices the general public would like it to be.

    • http://www.brucebrodinsky.com Bruce B

      …. but government keeping a price artificially higher just to protect an industry is never workable in the long term. Cab prices pretty cheap? Wow, let me know what horses you’re picking to get money, I want in! :)

  • TITANIUMDX

    NOW FOR THOSE WITH DISABILITIES, THERE IS ALREADY A DEDICATED FLEET OF VEHICLES TO ACOMMODATE THERE TRANSPORTATION NEEDS CALLED ACCESS-A-RIDE AND OTHER AMBULETTE STYLE SERVICES. Some agendas will push this issue at all costs, even though it makes no common sense for the greater good of the industry, and another burden to taxi drivers, even though there are already existing alternatives that have been mentioned above.

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