Streams

City’s Billion Dollar Taxi Plan Gets Green Light From Governor

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Hailing a Cab Hailing a Cab (Kathleen Horan/WNYC)

Governor Andrew Cuomo has agreed to sign Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s controversial taxi legislation with some big tweaks.

The major change is accessibility.

Cuomo announced on Tuesday a compromise was reached expanding taxi service in Upper Manhattan and the outer boroughs, by allowing livery cabs to pick up street hails, and finally meeting his concerns about ensuring wheelchair accessibility.

Under the new agreement, 2,000 yellow medallions will be auctioned and all must be wheelchair accessible. 

The bill that passed earlier this year would have made available 1,500 medallions available with only 500 set aside as accessible.

"No one thought we'd get this home," the mayor at the press conference via telephone. "We never gave up and we never stopped making the case."

The legislation authorizing the sale of the medallions, which will generate $1 billion in revenue for the city, has been held up for weeks by Cuomo, who said the bill did not provide enough accessible cabs, and would be shot down in court.

The city is currently awaiting a federal court decision that alleges the Taxi and Limousine Commission discriminates against people in wheelchairs, violating the Americans with Disabilities Act. Currently, only about 2 percent out of the city’s fleet of more than 13,000 yellow cabs are accessible.

To address this, Tuesday’s agreement requires the city to propose a long range accessibility plan. The TLC must consult with disability groups and other stakeholders before submitting a Disabled Accessibility Plan. The proposal will then be open for public comment and be sent to the City Council, as well as the State Department of Transportation for approval.

(Photo: Governor Cuomo announces the deal in Albany. Karen DeWitt for WNYC)

As for permits for outer borough livery cabs, 18,000 permits will be made available over the next three years, and 20 percent of those cabs must be accessible. The city's original plan had called for 30,000 permits.

The city will be required to provide grants as an incentive, of up to $15,000, to help pay for the retrofitting of livery vehicles or to purchase new accessible cars.

The livery permits will cost $1500 to start, but then immediately become transferable medallions, something many livery drivers had pushed for.

Yellow medallion fleet owners have led industry opposition.

They’ve argued that allowing outer borough street hails will devalue their medallions. “[The plan] would also threaten the short and long term viability of the medallion asset that has provided economic opportunities for thousands.” Ron Sherman, president of T=the Metropolitan Taxicab Board of Trade, said in a statement. “We hope this new bill has the teeth to protect our industry and we will cooperate with the Governor to achieve this goal.”

TLC Commissioner David Yassky said the agreement "will bring first rate, legal taxi service to all five boroughs." He also attempted to avoid some questions that doubted the mayor’s record on promoting accessible taxi service

Disabled groups, including the Taxis for All Campaign applauded the announcement, happy to be the focus of the deal hammered out by the various political camps.

Chair Edith Prentiss said “This deal will mean that people who are disabled will have the same option as every other New Yorker: the ability to travel spontaneously, quickly and easily when they are going to their jobs, to school or just out for a night on the town.”

The agreement will be introduced as a chapter amendment in the next session legislature in 2012.

Tags:

More in:

Comments [3]

jimi b

As long as they chill out with all the horn blowing I'm cool with it.
I believe livery cabs should have expectations regarding civility made clear to them, just as they have been with Taxi's. When I heard that the city was going to begin tickets excessive horn blowing more aggressively I was delighted. I hope they follow up with that, because Taxi's and Livery cars alike behave like 2 year old's with the horns. Waaaaa!!! wa wa wa waaaaa!!

Dec. 21 2011 02:27 PM
Maxine Wolfe from Brooklyn

I have no desire to hail livery cars --it is fine to be able to call and have them pull up in front of my house-there are many in the neighborhood and I hope I will be able to continue that. Easier and more reliable.

Dec. 21 2011 02:12 PM
Veterans Directory

Hello, Our founder, a Service Disabled Marine Corps Veteran is on a mission to promote and support Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Businesses. The Wounded Warriors are coming home, getting out of the service and the jobs are very limited. Therefore many are starting their own businesses in an attempt to survive and support their families. These Wounded Warriors do very much NEED our support! For this reason we have created VeteransDirectory.com AKA The "Wounded Warrior Directory" a directory of over 5000 disabled veteran businesses that need and DESERVE our support. Please Help us let others know about these businesses by linking to <a href="http://www.veteransdirectory.com">Veterans Directory</a>, liking us on Facebook, grabbing one of our banners or badges to display on your site, mention us in articles and or whatever else you can think of to support these veterans. Thank you for helping to support this cause!!

Dec. 21 2011 01:10 AM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

Get the WNYC Morning Brief in your inbox.
We'll send you our top 5 stories every day, plus breaking news and weather.

Sponsored

Latest Newscast

 

 

Support

WNYC is supported by the Charles H. Revson Foundation: Because a great city needs an informed and engaged public

Feeds

Supported by