For anyone that’s felt like the Invisible (Wo)Man trying to convince a taxi driver to come to Brooklyn from Manhattan, there’s good news from the Taxi & Limousine Commission. Despite fierce opposition from Yellow Cab drivers, rules were passed in a 7-2 vote by the commission Thursday, allowing New Yorkers to legally hail livery cabs in the four boroughs and northern Manhattan, starting this summer.
The mandate from Albany, approved last summer and signed in December by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, allows the city to sell licenses for up to 6,000 livery cabs in June, with a total of 18,000 over three years. New Yorkers will be able to hail these cars as they do traditional taxis.
However, the Metropolitan Taxicab Board of Trade, a lobbying group, sued the commission Wednesday, claiming the new rules violate Yellow Taxi medallion owners. Commission officials weren’t having it: City lawyers say they’re confident the plan meets legal requirements. At the commission meeting Thursday, hundreds of taxi and livery drivers on both sides of the fence packed an auditorium at Brooklyn Borough Hall to boo and applaud 40 speakers.
The livery cabs will have a light on top and could possibly be green in color. What remains unclear from news reports is whether they will be metered or continue to be negotiated fares between driver and passenger. In addition, the rules do not apply to livery vehicles south of East 96th Street, West 96th Street or at local airports.
(Photo: Flickr, digitally manipulated by Chuck Taylor)