New Borough Taxis to Be Painted Green, Insiders Say

Thursday, March 08, 2012

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.

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.

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

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 Graham Russell 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 [18]


please let me know how I can buy this car.Is there any number
that I can call or address which I can go.
thank you.

Jun. 19 2013 03:30 PM
Political PoP from America

there are green and orange taxis in Japan so Green cant be that bad Im pretty sure when some guy was like hey lets paint taxis yellow everyone looked at him like who let this guy in?

Mar. 11 2012 10:12 AM
Political Pop from America

Kathleen Horan
id do her... -_-

Mar. 10 2012 11:04 AM

The outer boroughs? What other than International Orange?

Mar. 10 2012 09:49 AM
Jeanwheels from Brooklyn

I and many other people with disabilities care mostly that they are accessible so ALL of us and visitors can take them!
Jean Ryan, VP for Public Affairs Disabled In Action

Mar. 09 2012 11:53 PM

Is the point that it should be a "nice" color or a "cab appropriate" color? "Electric Lime" (bad name) clearly stands out as the most recognizable. "Forest green" is the nicer color that most people would like to own privately. Since we're talking about a cab, I have to go with the Electric Lime. Even the naysayers will love it in a couple of years.

Mar. 09 2012 09:58 PM
EnoughAlready! from Harlem

Dunno if it's just me, but with all the noise, filth and aggravation in the city I'd rather do without clown-painted cars.

Slightly OT:
I'd FAR rather they just not harass standard livery cabs that want to pick up street hails above 99th. Anyone in NYC can spot a livery cab and they can spot you staring into traffic.

What works for me in a cab is
1. A clean black Town Car
2. A clean sliver Town Car
3. A clean Town Car with the original factory air springs, not the rough service steel springs swapped in from a police/taxi pack which most fleets substitute
4. A clean Town Car with the factory livery option. These have a micro-stretch (about 6"), the back door opens 90 degrees (!) and you can practically walk in and out with your stuff. They also have heated rear seats.
5. Best: #4 with the original air springs.

CUVs, Toyotas, all the little hybrid boxes and retired police cars. I have a neurological condition and the firm ride causes hours of vertigo afterwards. Plus all require wedging oneself in and out.
Strangely, the two outfits that have the most stretch TCs mostly cruise in Harlem and tend to lose your phone call. Go figure!

Mar. 09 2012 08:26 PM
Tom Southall from Former New Yorker

The names of Sea Green and Shamrock Green seem reversed to me, but that brings in the whole psychological factor or subliminal guidance.

They should be named Green 1, Green 2, etc.

I like the idea. A bold choice would be good.

Mar. 09 2012 06:54 PM
Joyce West from Manhattan

I vote for emerald green - it is much more visible than the other choices
and it's a very happy color. For me it's a no-brainer.

Mar. 09 2012 05:56 PM
Justive from Brooklyn

Orange with Blue hood and trunk, like the NYC flag.

Mar. 09 2012 04:43 PM
Stephen Ancona from Westport, Ct.

As a senior graphic designer, Electric Lime is a no brainer. It's totally New York. All the other "shades of green" are whimpy and are sooooo corporate safe. Bravo Big Apple.

Mar. 09 2012 04:02 PM
Ken from Queens

Hasn't anyone told the TLC that green cars are commonly considered to be bad luck? Hitchhiker's won't get into a green car... I imagine that some measurable segment of the outer-borough and upper-Manhattan populace will feel the same way and shun them, as well.

Seems like a bad idea to me.

Mar. 09 2012 11:28 AM
Ben from Eternia

Personally, I think the new cabs should be an olive drab with yellow tiger stripes. Like Battle-Cat from Masters of the Universe.

Mar. 09 2012 11:05 AM
urbangranolagirl from Jersey City

if they're going to be green, they better be hybrids or using some sort of cleaner green technology!

Mar. 09 2012 10:46 AM
Harvie from College Point

It should be the same shade of a Taxi Yellow but green. I can't see lime green livery cabs.

Mar. 09 2012 09:53 AM
Tony Jannetti from downtown

Mar. 08 2012 06:48 PM

Yellow is better because it's more visible at night. Darker colors resolve to black and have less visibility, therefore are less safe. Why should borough customers be less safe than Manhattan ones?

Make them taxicab yellow with a green stripe, if they must be differentiated.

Mar. 08 2012 05:42 PM
oinonio from Not Manhattan

Hunter Green, I'd say. You'd feel satisfied having caught it.

Mar. 08 2012 05:30 PM

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