Livery Cabs Approved For Passengers Trying To Reach The Boroughs

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)

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  • EJ

    So does this mean the 7am honking as I walk to the subway every morning will increase, decrease or stay the same?

  • She’s Crafty

    I wonder how people will chime in on this. I don’t think it would have been necessary to pass this kind of legislation if the yellow taxis were more agreeable to going to the outer boroughs, but I know I’m generalizing. I will continue to generalize and say that I find livery cab drivers overall to be nicer and more accomodating than yellow cab drivers, and they talk on the phone/text less.

  • bkheightsgal

    I would tend to agree that if yellow taxi cab drivers were more agreeable on going to the outer boroughs, which they are legally mandated to do, there might not have been a need to hai livery cab drivers.

  • ColumbiaHeightster

    I hope that I am misreading this, but since it is not applicable south of 96th street, is this really a big deal for our community? Personally, I’d only be affected by this if livery cars could take me to BH from Manhattan (south of 96th St). And we can’t take them from the airports? This really doesn’t feel like it will affect most BH residents all that much.

    On a side note, in all of my years of living in Brooklyn, I’ve never had a yellow cab refuse to take me home. I’ve had plenty huff and puff, but all that does is earn them a lesser tip. Get in the car before telling him where to go (a must), if he says no, take out your camera phone and tell him that you are taking a picture of his posted ID with badge number. I’ve never had to resort to that, but I’m guessing it would get the car rolling (albeit make for a very awkward ride into BK).

  • gc

    I don’t think I’ve ever been refused a ride to the Heights. I don’t need a cab that often ( 4 or 5 times a year ). I just get in the cab and tell them where I’m going. I don’t ask them if they can make the trip before I get in.

  • Flashlight Worthy

    In the 11+ years we’ve lived here, my wife and/or I have taken a cab from Manhattan to BH at least 200 times — probably more like 300 — and have never once been refused a ride.

    I think maybe once or twice the driver’s complained a bit.

  • Andrew

    The livery cabs will be able to pick up street hails in any borough that’s not Manhattan, as well as north of 96th Street in Manhattan, but not at the airports or in Manhattan south of 96 St. I’ve rarely had a problem finding a yellow cab in BH (except that it usually requires walking up to Clinton St.) The only time I’ll ever tell a cab driver if I’m going to Brooklyn before getting in is if it’s an off-duty driver who’s willing to pick up a fare only going in the direction he wants to go in. If it’s a taxi with the available light on, I get in first.

  • WillowtownCop

    I bet this means an even longer wait when you call a car. How annoying. The reason I usually call one is it’s raining or I have heavy things to carry and don’t want to roam the streets looking for a yellow cab.

  • PierrepontSkin

    Wait…so am I the only one who never has a problem getting a cab to Brooklyn, but always a problem going from the Heights to another place in Brooklyn?
    I’ve never been refused coming back from the city.

  • Eddyenergizer

    Back in the day, almost every time I got in a cab, the instant the word Brooklyn passed my lips the cabby would automatically retort “NO BROOKLYN”. Then I would plead “No it’s only Brooklyn Heights , just over the bridge, please, I’ll give you a big tip” That would usually work, if not, I would sit tight and refuse to get out and say “fine we’ll wait for the police”. Only once did it actually escalate to that and the cop ordered the driver to take me to Brooklyn.
    In the last decade or so it has been much less of a problem for us “Heights area folks” as most cabbies know the’ll likely get a fair returning to Manhattan. However, the problem still very prevalent if you try to go to other neighborhoods. I have taken two drivers to TLC court in the past 5 years for refusing to take me to Brooklyn, once to Williamsburg and once here, the Heights.

  • x

    I’d imagine there being mroe resistance from cab drivers to go further into Brooklyn such as Park Slope, Ditmas Park and beyond.

  • WillowtownCop

    Before I was a cop, if they refused to take me to Brooklyn I would get out on the passenger side and leave the door open so they would have to get out and come around to close the door.

  • BKNYNative

    I agree with PierrepontSkin, never had a problem going from Manhattan to BH, but try hailing one of the yellow cabs on Clinton headed to the bridge and telling them you want to go to Parkslope, it gets ugly.