Green five-borough taxis to hit streets this summer

These green taxi cabs will be able to pick up hails in the outer boroughs. Credit: www.nyc.gov
These green taxi cabs will be able to pick up hails in the outer boroughs. Credit: www.nyc.gov

The city’s outer boroughs are set to receive their very own fleet of taxis as soon as next month, Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced Thursday.

Uptown Manhattan and outer borough residents will be able to hail taxis on the street, after an appeals court unanimously upheld a state law that authorizes the city’s establishment of street hail livery service in Brooklyn, the Bronx, Queens and Staten Island.

“With this decision, we can finally bring safe, reliable taxi service to the four and a half boroughs that don’t currently have it,” Bloomberg said.

While the yellow cab industry and additional plaintiffs claim the State law is unconstitutional because it was allegedly enacted without following requirements of the State Constitution, supporters think otherwise.

“In our view the Court correctly held that the State law advances a substantial State concern with improved access to for-hire transportation throughout the City,” said Corporation Counsel Michael A. Cardozo.

18,000 apple green taxis will be permitted to pick up hails only north of 96th Street on Manhattan’s East Side, north of 110th Street on Manhattan’s West Side and anywhere in the other four boroughs.

Previously, it was illegal for taxi riders in the outer boroughs to hail a livery cab. They were only allowed to prearrange car service by calling the livery cab service.

The five-borough taxi plan was halted last year when yellow cab fleet owners filed a lawsuit claiming that only yellow cabs had the right to street hail.

The city also announced on Thursday that it will sell 2,000 yellow-cab medallions that must be used for handicap-accessible cars. The sale is expected to generate more than $1 billion in revenue for the city.

Taxi apps get a thumbs up, too

In addition to the expansion of livery services in more boroughs, the Court also decided that New York City’s e-hail program can continue, after a restraining order halted the service.

“In New York City in 2013, common sense and the free market say that you should be able to use your smartphone to get a cab, and that’s why we created a pilot program to allow users to do just that,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “Some in the industry want to protect their business interests by blocking the use of new technology – but innovation is good for customers, and we will continue to encourage it.”


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