Kathleen Horan, Reporter, WNYC News
Kathleen Horan is a staff reporter for New York Public Radio, covering the neighborhood beat. She also reports 'Reset', an ongoing series documenting police-community relations in Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn.
The clock is ticking on legislation that the Bloomberg administration promised would improve taxi service in the five boroughs and generate city revenue.
The state legislature passed the bill last summer. But the plan to allow up to 30,000 specially marked livery cars to accept street hails in Upper Manhattan and the outer boroughs kicked up more than a little controversy. Yellow medallion fleet owners argued a new class of taxi would threaten the value of their pricey medallions. Some livery bases that rely on pre-arranged calls worried that allowing livery drivers to legally accept street hails would undermine their business model. And disabled groups said the bill didn't include enough accessibility.
After the legislation's initial approval, State Senator Martin Golden, who was the bill’s original sponsor, said he signed onto the bill too fast, without understanding the repercussions. Golden said one of the issues is the number of proposed livery permits that could be available is too high.
Last month, Governor Andrew Cuomo's office convened a summit with key players to try to hash out a revised plan.
As the deadline nears, stakeholders are either attempting to broker a deal—or hoping that the plan simply dies on the vine. Governor Cuomo hasn’t said what he'll do if the bill lands on his desk by December 31.
Changes in the bill could come during a special session of the legislature as early as this week.
If it becomes law, at least one opponent has promised to file a lawsuit to block any changes in court.