State's highest court gives green light for legal livery hails
Many New Yorkers are soon going to have a "hail" of an easier time getting a cab.
Livery cabs in the outer boroughs and northern Manhattan are now eligible to register for medallions to pick up street hails after a unanimous ruling Thursday by the state's highest court.
The decision was a victory for the mayor and a defeat for yellow cab associations who tried to block the plan.
Mayor Michael Bloom-berg called the ruling a win for drivers and passengers alike, saying that it would make the entire city more accessible and help generate a billion extra dollars in economic activity.
"We long believed that people who live outside of lower Manhattan ... deserve to hail a legal taxi. We feel livery cabs deserve to be in that business," he said.
The yellow cab taxi associations that sued over the program couldn't be reached for comment.
Starting Friday, livery cabdrivers can apply for the 6,000 medallions that will be available annually for the next three years. Once approved, cabdrivers will have to get a TLC light affixed to the top of their cars, install a city meter and credit card reader and paint their vehicles apple green to distinguish them from other taxis.
The approved outer borough taxis, which will arrive during the summer, can only pick up passengers in Queens, Staten Island, Brooklyn and Manhattan north of East 96th Street and West 110th Street and will charge the same fare as yellow cabs.
Regular livery cab users said they would enjoy some of the new freedom to get a cab.
Tatiana Peterson, of Richmond Hill, said she uses cabs at least once every two weeks when she shops. She always has trouble both hailing yellow cabs and having enough cash on hand for livery cabs.
"There's a big convenience to using the credit card machine," the 26-year-old said.
Other outer borough residents, however, said the city's new rules would make their trips less convenient, especially for their wallets.
Nika Morgan, 31 of the South Bronx, said she has always found a way to bargain her way to a fair price anytime she uses a livery cab.
"I can get to Manhattan with just $15, because I negotiated it in the beginning and it's over," she said.
A lower appeals court also lifted an injunction Thursday that banned the Taxi and Limousine Commission from testing its pilot e-hail program.