Deal Reached on Controversial NYC Taxi Plan

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(photo by Kathleen Horan/WNYC)

(New York, NY - WNYC) New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced on Tuesday a deal that would expand taxi service in Upper Manhattan and the outer boroughs, by allowing livery cabs to pick up street hails, and meet concerns about ensuring wheelchair accessibility.

Under the deal, 2,000 medallions will be available, and all of them will be accessible. The bill that passed earlier this year would have made available 1,500 medallions with only 500 as accessible-taxi medallions.

Cuomo said the deal means the city gets "more than a good bill." The sale of the medallions will generate revenue for the city, the outer boroughs will get better service and there will be accessible cabs that will help the disabled, in particular those in wheelchairs.

"No one thought we'd get this home," Mayor Michael Bloomberg said at the press conference via phone. "We never gave up and we never stopped making the case."

The legislation authorizing the new cab service, and the sale by the city of $1 billion worth of medallions, has been held up for weeks by Cuomo, who said the bill did not provide enough handicap-accessible cabs, and would be shot down in court.

TLC Commissioner David Yassky said the agreement "will bring first rate, legal taxi service to all five boroughs."

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

The governor hosted the press conference in the Red Room of the State Capital.

With reporting by Kathleen Horan