Bloomberg Hopes to Legalize Hailing Livery Cabs

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Livery cabs outside Manhattan could soon be allowed to pick up passengers who hail them from the curb under a proposal that Mayor Bloomberg included in State of the City address Wednesday.

Longtime livery cab driver Hipolito Sime, now a manager at Evelyn Car Service in Brooklyn, said the change would be a big help for residents of underserved neighborhoods in his borough.

"Bed-Stuy, East Flatbush, East New York, Sunset Park. Where you see a big group of minorities, that's where you're most likely to see the car service, and the yellow cab's not going to go there," he said.

Sime said the change would also bring relief to livery cab drivers, who can currently be ticketed by police and fined by the Taxi and Limousine Commission if they pick up passengers without waiting for a call from a dispatcher.

"That's going to help them keep their license longer because that was points by TLC if they get caught picking up somebody in the street, that would be a point on their license," he said. 

Some Yellow cab drivers are expressing concern about the proposed change. Jean-Pierre Doume is worried he could lose business to livery drivers who don't have to pay the medallion fees that he has to pay.

"The yellow cabs, we have to pay $700 approximately or $800 or maybe $110, $120 daily. With competition like that I don't think it's going to be easy," he said.

The Taxi Workers' Alliance, which represents yellow cab drivers, echoed Ahmad's concern, saying the mayor's plan threatens the economic viability of its members.

But other yellow cab drivers welcome the proposed change.

"I take the black cars over there (to Brooklyn), I have to, because the yellow cabs, they cannot work over there because they don't know the streets or the addresses. It's really hard for them," said Ali Ahmad, who lives in Brooklyn.

As for his fellow outer borough residents, Ahmad said, "I can feel for the people, you know? I don't want them to stand in the cold weather, you know? It's good for them."


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Comments [4]

Jake from The Bronx

Jacob From the Bronx
As a resident of the Nyc for the past 25 years I have seen the price of the medallions go from 10K- 20k in the mid 90s to 620K presently This happening because people started taking huge bank loans to buy them just like the housing market and we all know what happened to that. To the yellow cab drivers all this is happening because of your bad behavior i.e. refusing to take people to the outer boroughs not to mention your racist practices of not picking up Black men which has been going on for years but since they did not have much of a voice no mayor proposed legislation to change that but now you are refusing to pick up white people who live in Brooklyn, Bronx, upper Manhattan and Queens. You Yellow cabbies have operated with impudence because you had a monopoly, the Black cab of the outer boroughs were not allowed to legally pick up street hails. something has got to give you cannot have a monopoly over street hails and refuse to take people to the outer boroughs. The people of NYC deserve service in the outer borough since 80 percent live there. Fines should be increased for yellow who refuse to take people to the outer boroughs. All this will not be necessary if yellow cabbies were civil. but the Idea of selling medallions to black cabs will put almost all of the out of business and will have an adverse effect of providing cab service to the outer boroughs.

Jun. 27 2011 08:03 AM
Keith Kucharnik from Queens, NY

The one question that concerns me with this new proposal is enforcement. Today's TLC enforcement teams are shorthanded and unable to effectively police illegal activity within the industry currently. In the outer-boroughs there is rampant non-licensed TLC drivers providing street hails in inadequately insured privately registered vehicles. One of the main goals in this proposal is to curb illegal street hails in the outer boroughs but if an illegal livery operator is unable tp procur a TLC license and operate legally now what makes you think he will stop operating with this new class of livery vehicles. Legal medallion owners and outer borough car services are going to get destroyed by this if it's enacted because of the never ending illegal "gypsy" trade and this new proposed transportation class.

Mar. 14 2011 10:13 PM
Taxi Driver Robert from nyc

Hello, I am currently a Taxi driver in NYC. I am opposed to the legalizing of Livery cabs because in my experience there are as many cars on the street that the industry can handle. Currently there are 13,237 medallions licensed for street hails. The medallion system regulates the amount of drivers, this is necessary because if there are too many drivers on the road, none of them will make enough money to survive. This is why the medallion cost is so high right now, (600,000 i think) so that no more are easily purchased.

Yellow cabs pay for the medallions, so they get the street hails, Livery cars do not, so they do the calls.

The Livery that are illegally picking up street hails is causing an overflow of supply to the demand. And what we are left with is the current mess of desperate drivers in the city every day.

As for drivers that don't want to go to Brooklyn, I believe this is due to the financial stress that the drivers are under.
See, most people use the taxi at rush hour or bar rush so they think taxi drivers are constantly earning fares. But these are only a portion of the shift a driver needs to work, and most of the money goes to paying the lease for the taxi: 110-140$ depending on the day of the week, and 40$ for gas. I have come home with 80$ in my pocket after 12 hours of work, it happens.

Lower the cost of the leases and gas, and taxi drivers would be happy to drive all over the five boroughs, but right now its tough enough as it is. Legalizing Livery drivers would collapse this system, cause more desperate drivers, and more accidents as a result.

P.S. If you decide to street hail a Livery car, remember that they are not insured for this, so neither are you if there is an accident. Please buckle up either way.


Jan. 26 2011 04:12 AM
Stuart from Uhh, Queens

Thanks for nothing Mr. Mayor. For the 25 years I have lives in Queens, people here have ALWAYS hailed livery cabs and if he doesn't know it personally, surely one of his great managers must have clued him in to this fact. One good reason is they are the only ones available outside the airports. Other great reasons - unlike yellow cabs they are clean and clean smelling, spacious, well maintained, and have working heating and air conditioning. They are professionally driven by people who have no trouble jumping out to help you with baggage and don't surcharge for it. If they don't know a location, find out in moments by radio or phone instead of driving around while the meter runs. Also they cost no more, often less, than crappy, busted, cramped, smelly, dangerously driven into the ground yellow cabs.

Jan. 19 2011 06:21 PM

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