Archive for the tag 'metropolitan taxicab board of trade'

Image courtesy of the offices of Mayor Michael Bloomberg

The hotly-debated plan to sell 18,000 permits for cabs and 2,000 new medallions for wheelchair-accessible cabs to service the five boroughs has crashed.

Last Friday, a judge rejected the Taxi and Limousine Commission’s “Five Borough Taxi Plan,” which would have allowed livery cabs to pick up street hails in upper Manhattan and the outer boroughs.

The Granny Smith-colored cabs were the apple of Mayor Bloomberg’s eye. They were set to bring in a much-needed $635 million, although other sources have listed the revenue as high as $1 billion, for this year’s budget.

“The reality is we now have a $635 million hole in our budget because we lose projected revenue from the sale of taxi medallions,” said Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer. “More importantly, New Yorkers beyond Manhattan, the people who live in our boroughs, are going to be treated like second-class citizens.”

The plan would have opened up cab service to all five boroughs for the first time ever. However, State Supreme Court Judge Arthur Engoron said the city violated the state constitution by circumventing the City Council and getting Albany to approve the taxi plan instead of its own legislature.

The medallion-holding yellow cab drivers are thrilled the judge ruled in their favor.

“We applaud the judge’s decision and we believe we are going to find a solution but not a solution that hurts two industries, that divides two industries,” said Fernando Mateo of the New York State Federation of Taxi Drivers.

City Hall plans to appeal the decision.

Livery cab lawsuit NYC

Source: Omnibus, Uris via Wikimedia Commons

New York State Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron put the brakes on city’s plan to create a new class of taxis to serve neighborhoods in Brooklyn, northern Manhattan and other areas.

The judge issued a temporary restraining order blocking Mayor Bloomberg from implementing the city’s Outer Borough Livery Street Hail and Taxi Medallion Plan, otherwise known as the HAIL Law, which was put into effect on June 1.

If enacted, the law would allow 18,000 livery cabs to pick up street-hail passengers outside central Manhattan and bring in about $1 billion to the city’s budget.

The lawsuit was brought on by the Metropolitan Taxicab Board of Trade.

“Obviously, anything that affects New York City affects the state in which it is situated, and just as obviously non-New York City residents can (and do, in droves) spend time in New York City.  But, generally speaking, these facts cannot satisfy the Home Rule requirements or nothing would be left of the rule but the exceptions, ” wrote Justice Engoron in his ruling.

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Source: mikealex/Flickr

A lawsuit brought by the Metropolitan Taxicab Board of Trade against the city for its plan to create a new class of “outerborough” taxicabs was amended on Friday, adding City Councilman Lew Fidler as a plaintiff in the case.

The trade association, which represents the owners of nearly 4,000 taxicabs, has also requested a preliminary injunction to prevent the city from issuing the new medallions before the court decides on whether or not the plan – known as the HAIL Law – is unconstitutional and in violation of the city’s agreement with existing medallion owners.

“I have been against the plan to provide outer borough taxi service from the start, as it is a ‘solution in search of a problem,” Fidler states in his affidavit. “In my 10 years as a City Council member, I have never gotten a call asking me why a citizen can’t hail a cab on the streets of Marine Park.”

The affidavit goes on: “I am a Plaintiff in this action, however, not merely because the HAIL Law is a bad policy, but because the HAIL Law is unconstitutional. The HAIL Law violates New York City’s right to Home Rule. Most fundamentally, it interferes with the City of New York’s right to regulate taxicabs and liveries and the City Council’s right to decide when to issue new medallions. Instead, the State Legislature has set regulations for livery cabs and has transferred the right to issue new taxicab medallions to the Mayor.”

According to a press release from the Metropolitan Taxicab Board of Trade, their legal challenge rests on the following arguments:

  • The bypassing of the “home rule message” that has been provided by the New York City Council for every other taxi medallion bill but was ignored for reasons of political expediency.
  • Further relinquishment of traditional and constitutionally protected City Council powers to the Mayor with regard to the issuance and regulation of medallions.
  • The violation of the “exclusive privileges and immunities” clause which is meant to, among other things, prevent one exclusive group of people from unfairly benefiting financially from a City issued asset – in this case livery hail permits.

Source: mikealex/Flickr

The city’s plan to roll out a new class of taxi to serve neighborhoods in Brooklyn, northern Manhattan and other areas poorly served by yellow cabs, is now heading to court, courtesy of a lawsuit filed by a lobbying group representing the largest yellow medallion taxi fleets.

The lawsuit, filed yesterday in New York State Supreme Court by the Metropolitan Taxicab Board of Trade, claims that the outerborough street hail livery plan, passed into law by Albany legislators in Feburary, violates the rights of medallion owners who paid for exclusive rights to pick up street hails in New York City.

The proposal would create a new class of taxi medallion for up to 18,000 livery drivers, giving them the right to pick up street hails in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island and northern Manhattan – areas previously underserved by yellow cabs that clog the city’s financial and tourist areas. It also permits the city to issue 2,000 new yellow taxi medallions.

The privileges for livery cabs will unfairly reward a culture of bad behavior from livery cabbies who “poach” street hails from yellow cabs, the Metropolitan Taxicab Board of Trade claims, and will hurt the livelihood of yellow cab owners who will now have to compete with the new livery class as well as 2,000 new yellow cabs.

“The street hail livery rules are unconstitutional, irresponsible and unconscionable,” said Ron Sherman, president of the Metropolitan Taxicab Board of Trade. “How can the City of New York sell medallions to thousands of individual owner-drivers and small businesses, promising them the exclusive right to pick up street hails, only to take that right away in one destructive piece of legislation?”

The group is also claiming that the process in which the legislation was enacted was unconstitutional, violating a “Home Rule” procedure, in which legislation affecting only one locality can only be passed in the state legislature once the local legislative body has given its stamp of approval. There was no City Council vote on the issuance of new medallions, and no public hearing.

“How can the City do this without a single public hearing, without the authorization of the City Council, and without a single economic study on its effects on this industry comprised mostly of immigrants who have pursued the American dream by working hard, saving their earnings and playing by the rules?” Sherman asked.

What do you think? Is this legislation that will hurt the business of yellow cab drivers? Or will the bill provide service for areas where the yellow cabs were not serving anyway?