Kathleen Horan

Reporter, WNYC News

Kathleen Horan appears in the following:

NYer’s Check Out ‘Taxi of Tomorrow’ Now

Friday, April 06, 2012


The 'Taxi of Tomorrow' was unveiled this week with much fanfare. The Nissan minivan has been chosen by city officials be the cab for the next decade, beginning next year as older cabs are retired.


Anxiety Looms in the Livery Industry as Borough Taxi Permit Sale Nears

Friday, April 06, 2012

The livery industry is set to change how it does business when the Taxi and Limousine Commission will vote on rules for its new five borough street hail plan this month.

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Anxiety Looms in the Livery Industry as Borough Taxi Permit Sale Nears

Friday, April 06, 2012

Livery Cab (photo by Kate Hinds)

The livery industry is set to change how it does business after the Taxi and Limousine Commission votes on rules for its new five borough street hail plan later this month.

It’s the last major step before the first 6,000 livery permits are sold in June and legal street hail service comes to the outer boroughs and upper Manhattan in a new form -- and it’s causing much uncertainty within the industry.

At a TLC sponsored information session near Yankee stadium this week, about 300 livery drivers and base owners crowded into the auditorium at Lincoln Hospital voicing concerns and seeking answers.

Judy Vargas, who owns a livery base in Washington Heights, said she’s concerned about a new rule that would punish base owners if their drivers break the rules, such as accepting street hails outside the stipulated boundaries.

“The TLC should not fine base owners when the taxi drivers pick up in the street because if we are going to have a permit that costs $3,000, we shouldn't be fined for that."

Vargas is also worried about some of the other requirements but she believes if she doesn't opt in her drivers will leave. There are 476 livery bases throughout the city.

"If we're not part of it … my drivers will go somewhere else,” Vargas said.

Drivers are also up in arms about some of the changes outlined by the TLC is a 89-page rule book on the proposed street hails.

(Photo: TLC Commissioner David Yassky talks with livery driver Clara Santiago.Kathleen Horan/WNYC)

Veteran Bronx driver Hamilton Delos Santos said he's been picking up street hails for a decade — even though it’s not technically legal. He has been ticketed three times in 10 years, but successfully fought the summonses.

He said he’s not sure why he would need to invest about $5,000 to upgrade his cab and buy a new livery permit.

“I’ve been taking street hails since I’ve been doing it, so now we have to invest all this money. It’s something we've already been doing for so long — what’s the total investment, the paint the meter, the taxi top — too many questions not being answered in there.”

The fine for accepting illegal street hails is $350.00.

During the information session, Clara Santiago, who works for Riverside Car Service, asked TLC Commissioner David Yassky why she'll have to paint her car a different color if she purchases a livery permit.

She has a black Lincoln.

“You want to keep it that way..I understand. But we’re trying to make a distinction about the cars that can pick up off the street and the ones that can't,” he said.

Yassky said he's not surprised there is still some confusion. He expects much of that to melt away after the plan is enacted and passengers do what they do best — put up their arms and hail a cab.

"Once we get the licenses issued and the drivers are in the street with borough taxis and people are able to hail them down, I think a lot of the questions people will figure out for themselves. Drivers are smart, passengers are smart. Our job is to just get those cars out on the street so people can flag them down.”

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Macy's Re-Opens After Fire Forces Evacuation

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Broken glass and soot on the sidewalk around Macy's in Herald Square serve as reminders of the fire that forced the evacuation of the iconic store for about an hour Wednesday afternoon.


Coney Island's Operator Hopes 3rd Season is the Charm

Sunday, April 01, 2012


A sure sign that spring is here is the sound of the of the Cyclone roller coaster rattling in Coney Island. The 2012 season officially begins on Sunday and will be operating on weekends until Memorial Day when the seaside amusement areas Luna Park and the Scream Zone open daily.


Council Passes Building Workers Wage Bill

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The City Council approved a bill that would guarantee higher wages for some workers at buildings that receive city subsidies of more than $1 million on Wednesday. Most would see their wages top $20 an hour.


Food Coops: The Not-So-Happy Marriage of Organic Produce and Politics

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


In Brooklyn, the Park Slope Coop voted 1005 to 653 not to move forward on a controversial proposal to ban products from Israel Tuesday night.

Comments [8]

Taxi Industry Skittish About Proposed Rule Changes

Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Taxi and Limousine Commission held its first public hearing on Thursday about proposed rule changes in the taxi industry as the city’s five borough taxi legislation comes to fruition and street hail permits begin to be sold in June.

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Iconic Bowery Store Closes After More Than 25 Years

Friday, March 09, 2012

Billy’s Antiques, the offbeat shop located under the big tent on the corner of Bowery and Houston is having a final goodbye party this weekend.


The Next New York Cabs? For the Outer Boroughs, City Eyes Green Cabs

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Photo Illustration: John Keefe/WNYC. Original image courtesy of bsabarnowl/flickr

( New York, NY -- Kathleen Horan, WNYC) It ain’t easy being green. But in a few months New Yorkers could be hailing an emerald, lime or chartreuse cab.

The city is moving ahead with its plan to sell street hail livery permits that allow livery cars to accept street hails in upper Manhattan and the outer boroughs. Part of the plan: the cabs have to be noticeably different from other taxis.

The TLC rules state the cabs “must be painted” what’s called “Street Hail Livery [color to be designated]” — and it can’t be yellow.

[To vote on what color you like, click here. )

Though TLC officials say they have not yet settled on a color, insiders say it’s been narrowed down to green.

“From my understanding, it’s going to be ‘livery green,’” said Guy Palumbo, former executive director of the Livery Roundtable.

Green has become the likely choice through a process of elimination, according to Livery Base Owners Association spokeswoman Cira Angeles.

“Blue to a certain degree is associated with the police, red with emergency vehicles. Finally someone mentioned green, and it sounded like a pretty good idea when it comes to identifying the car,” she said. “I, personally, love green.”

Other than color, street hail liveries will look and act like yellow medallion taxis. They’ll have roof lights, credit card readers, meters and partitions.

But street hail liveries can only pick up in the outer boroughs and in Manhattan north of West 110th street and East 96th. Airports are also excluded.

The yellow taxi hasn’t always been painted its signature color. Cabs could be found in an array of hues until the City Council passed a bill in 1968 that prohibited non-medallion cabs or liveries from using typical cab colors of yellow, orange, red or gold— differentiating them from medallion cabs.

In 1970, the city made yellow the official color of the medallion cab.

Yellow was the easiest color to differentiate long distance and not a lot of regular cars on the road were painted that color, according to professor GrahamRussell Gao Hodges, author of the book Taxi! A Social History of the New York City Cab Driver.

He said now the livery industry has come “full circle,” ready to enter a more legitimate world and be painted its own distinctive color.”

The TLC is expected to announce the color sometime this spring before the draft rules are finalized and the sale of the first 6,000 livery permits begins in June.

Livery passengers have differing opinions about what color the TLC should settle on.

Bronx resident Mario Robles favors dark blue, the color of many New York professional sports teams.

“Green is OK, but me, personally, I don’t think it professional,” he said. “I’ve seen green cabs in other cities, I don’t think of it as a New York color.”

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Comments [3]

New Borough Taxis to Be Painted Green, Insiders Say

Thursday, March 08, 2012

The city is moving ahead with its plan to sell street hail livery permits that allow livery cars to accept street hails in upper Manhattan and the outer boroughs. Part of the plan: the cabs have to be noticeably different from other taxis.

TELL US: What shade of green best suits livery cabs?

Comments [18]

TLC Budget to Increase As Medallion Sale and Livery Permit Plan Gets Underway This Summer

Tuesday, March 06, 2012


The Taxi and Limousine Commission is proposing a budget increase of $20 million in the next fiscal year to cover the cost of providing grants for purchasers of street hail livery permits that are wheelchair accessible.


Farmers Aim to Make Fruitful Connections at City Expo

Sunday, March 04, 2012


Farmers in the state hoping to tap into the New York City market will connect with retail, restaurant and others food service industry at the Farm to City Expo on Tuesday at the Javits Center.


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Pilot Program to Replace Taxi TVs With iPads Gets Green Light

Thursday, March 01, 2012


The Taxi and Limousine Commission on Thursday approved a pilot program to remove TV screens from the back of 30 cabs and replace them with iPads or other tablets.


Coney Island: Version 2.0

Tuesday, February 28, 2012


As spring nears, Coney Island is preparing for another season. Luna Park, the amusement park at Coney Island, is looking to fill 100 more positions than last year at the park and in the concession stands.


NYC to Challenge Taxi Accessibility Order

Monday, February 27, 2012


City lawyers are heading to court Tuesday seeking an appeal of a judge's order that the Taxi and Limousine Commission must submit a long term-plan for wheelchair accessibility.

Comments [1]

Mourners at Ramarley Graham Funeral Demand Justice

Saturday, February 18, 2012


The funeral for Ramarley Graham, the 18-year-old, unarmed Bronx man shot by a police officer who said he thought Graham had a gun, was both a celebration of a young life cut short and also a call to action.

Comments [1]

As Journalism Changes, Danger Remains

Friday, February 17, 2012


The recent death of a New York Times correspondent is a reminder of the risks journalists take to get the story. By one count, 46 journalists were killed last year as a direct result of their work - many in the Middle East.


What We're Reading: Reporter's Round-Up

Friday, February 17, 2012

See what general assignment reporter Kathleen Horan is reading today.


For the Love Of Lin: Inside the Knicks Viewing Party

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


The Linsanity is likely to continue, as the Knicks won their seventh straight game with Jeremy Lin playing. Several gathered in Chinatown to watch the Knicks beat the Kings 100-85.