Taxi Workers Alliance Has A Change Of Heart On Mayor’s Livery Cab Bill

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s plan to allow livery cabs to accept fares in the outer boroughs is now in the fast lane after the largest group of taxi workers had a change of heart.

It was a switch of gears for the Taxi Workers Alliance — suddenly supporting the mayor’s bill to let livery cabs pick up fares after some last minute concessions from the city.

“We have agreed to no more than 22,000 street hail permits will be sold in the first twelve months,” Bhairavi Desai, the head of the Taxi Workers Alliance, said Monday afternoon.

The legislation had originally called for up to 30,000 permits to be sold.  In a statement on the Taxi Workers Alliance’s website, the organization states “we believe we have developed a program that ensures the economic security of yellow taxi cab drivers, our members, and provides service to the communities of the city that have been traditionally underserved.   Therefore, we add our support to S-5825-2011 / A-8496.”

WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb On Tuesday With The Change Of Heart

Though the bill was sneaked into the state legislature on Father’s Day — circumventing the City Council — the plan now even has the support of some outer borough council members.

“A lot of us who live in the outer boroughs — we don’t see the yellow cabs. This is a great opportunity now for our people to have true access,” Councilman Fernando Cabrera told CBS 2’s John Metaxas.

Under the bill, livery cab owners could buy the outer borough permits for $1,500.  The new class of livery cabs would have meters and credit card readers in addition to being painted a different color to differentiate them from yellow cabs. Livery cabs would also be required to install meters, GPS devices and credit card readers.

It’s not clear when Albany legislators will get to the bill.

Earlier in the day however, hundreds of taxi drivers dressed in bright yellow T-shirts gathered at City Hall to protest the plan. The drivers contended Mayor Bloomberg was trying to wreck their livelihood with the measure.

“People who live in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island deserve to have the same ability to flag down a taxi as Manhattanites do,” TLC Commissioner David Yassky told 1010 WINS. “I think it’s absolutely the right move.”

1010 WINS’ Juliet Papa reports: Both Yellow Cab And Livery Drivers Say The Plan Hurts Both Sides Of The Industry

“We want to make sure that the yellow taxi industry remains strong and healthy and we are absolutely committed to enforcement to make sure that the borough taxis stay in the boroughs and don’t poach in Manhattan,” Yassky said.

WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb: They Chanted “Hail No, This Plan Must Go”

Opponents said the proposal would drive thousands of yellow cabbies out of business. Yellow cab drivers chanted “Hail No, This Plan Must Go” and said a sudden flood of cabs doing street pickups would create unfair competition.

“I’ve been driving 41 years and I want to say that this plan stinks,” driver Aaron Platt said.

Brooklyn Councilman Lou Fidler said the plan will turn Flatbush Avenue into the “Wild West.”

“The impact on the taxis really isn’t there but the impact on 80 percent of New Yorkers who live in Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island is very real,” Yassky said.

1010 WINS’ John Montone reports: Cabbies Say Bloomberg Is Making Their Lives Miserable

Yassky claims the new legislation would provide the outer boroughs with “legal, safe and reliable options.”

He added the changes “will not only increase availability but also increase passenger protections.”

Do you approve of the new legislation? Sound off below…

More from John Metaxas
  • Queens rider

    True story…one night at about 10:30pm, I hailed a yellow cab on 1st Ave & E62nd street to go to Middle Village Queens- fairly close and a straight ride through good neighborhoods. When I said Queens, the driver threw a hissy fit and said he don’t go there. After threatening to report him, he grudgingly agreed, then proceeded to take the Northern Blvd exit from the 59th Street bridge and dumped me in the middle of the factory area claiming car trouble and that he had to get back to his garage. Of course I reported him and followed through, but to this day I would never hail a yellow cab to go home. I could have been raped or killed thanks to this lowlife. Lesson learned… Bring on the black cars that will serve the “other” boroughs!

  • Alan Katz

    If taxi drivers are so bad than why most of them are occupied by passengers. Most people who use cabs are turists and wall street people, if all cabs will go to Bronx,Brooklyn,Queens than a whole city will stop.Taxi industry bring s billions of dollars to the city economy it means 401 k and salaries for city workers ,so next time you call taxi drivers terrorists think twice .

  • Die-Yellow-Cabs!!

    They should just BAN yellow cabs in general and have livery cabs take over all routes in nyc ….. because we all know they will do a better job ….

  • Mike

    Ive lived in Washington heights all my life, I was never refused by a yellow taxi to take me home. I dont know who are these people that say taxis do not take passengers north of 96 street.

  • LES


  • Dale Auburn

    “It’s not clear when Albany legislators will get to the bill.”

    Whoa, whoa, hold on a minute here. Why does anybody in Albany “need” to be involved? This is about the CITY issuing medallions to CITY taxis that run on CITY streets, so it’s a CITY issue which should be addressed in the CITY Council. Why does New York CITY need the State’s permission to govern itself while ALL other cities across the state get to enjoy “home rule”?

  • eugene fontanez

    Let the livery cabs pick up fares on the street at least they will be willing to drive a passenger home to either the Bx, BK, Queens, or SI without saying I can’t go out there or won’t. The hell with the good for nothing yellow cabs.

  • Dave

    This is consumer reaction biting the yellows in the ass. When you keep refusing to take passengers to the outer boroughs, or give attitude when you do, and an alternative plan is being pushed through, go cry to someone who cares. It ain’t me. And I doubt it’s most other residents of the outer boroughs.

  • Son of a driver/owner

    Most NYers do not understand the economics of this issue. The going rate for a NYC Taxi Medallion is approximately $650,000. Most, if not all taxi owners borrow the entire amount and work 25 years to pay off the loan. We are talking about comitting $5000 per month for loan payments – which means that these owner/drivers are working full 12 hour shifts and then sharing the cab with another driver for the second 12 hour shift, 7 days a week. Many of these owners purchased these cabs 15-20 years ago and put in a lot of time and effort to build an asset for retirement. They have had to contend with livery drivers illegally picking passengers off the street in Manhattan even though they are unauthorized to do so. The NYC taxis are extremely regulated, put through 4 vehicle inspections a year, required to pay MVT taxes, MTA taxes ($.50) per ride to their competitor and chased down by the NYPD, MTA Police and TLC police. They pay extremely high commerical insurance (over $8,000 per year only liability) and receive no other benefit from the city other than the right to pick up passengers from the street exclusively. The moment you allow the livery cabs to start picking up passengers off the street you immediately devalue the NYC Medallion and create a slippery slope effect. In a few years from now the city will contend that there are not enough NYC taxis in operation so in midtown so they could easily allow black cars to pick up passengers off the street from times square to 96th street, and then slow expand that limit.

    • YelloCabsFail

      I don’t care about the economics, If you know its a raw deal then you should not get involved. No-one put a gun to your head and said “you must do this” all i know from my end as a rider that i cannot get a yellow cab when i need one. they bypass me or they don’t know where my destination is. I lost faith in yellow cabs and would rather take a bus,train or a livery cab that a yellow one. The yellow cabs created this situation. you cannot monopolize the car service, The rates ate too high and you don’t drive everywhere so in my eyes, they dont provide a service to me.

      • Mohammed the Cab Driver

        YelloCabsFail, are you dumb? That is their livelihood and mine as well. Having black cars allowed to come in and pick up passengers will devalue the NYC medallion which means the owners retirement/investment goes south.

        Lets see if I devalued your 401K or pension and see how happy you are about it.

        If you dont like the service, take the subway. See if the stench of urine, overcrowding and consistent delays are any better.

      • bill burns

        Hey Mohammed. Take your colored stinking Muslim ass back to Liberia, you terrorist piece of trash.

      • joe

        Bill Burns has sex with dogs

    • eugene

      Hey when the yellow cabs start taking people to the rest of NYC meaning upper Manhattan, BK, Queens, and SI maybe just maybe the real new yokers will have some sympathy for them, but that will never happen. Yellow cab drivers keep coming up with the most BS excuses for why they can’t/ won’t leave mid-town-downtown manhattan…remember that is against the law.

      • nathan

        bill burns – thats a parody (Ill wait while you look it up…) right? You’re not really that ignorant right? RIGHT???

    • YelloCabsFail

      @Son of a driver/owner
      the devalue of the medallion is a by product of the livery cabs/limos pick up the slack. since Yellow cabs do not going everywhere so accept that. . If they are too high then complain to the seller who shafted you over half a million for a medallion not the rider!
      My two 401ks are doing very well thank you and my pension is set with zero help from the yellow cab industry the bottom line is that your parent fail to do his homework. He should have cut his losses and get out. if he had still stayed then thats his fault. The trick is to educate yourself better and THEN you would have options. USA is he land of opportunity and failure and if you are smart you will avoid the latter Also I do take the subway and will any day over a yellow cab. inside the cabs smells , they have a stink attitude and they drive like a convicted child-molester on the run.

    • Dale Auburn

      The yellow cabbies “devalue the medallion” by refusing to serve the outer boroughs. If they were wiling to actually do their jobs, others wouldn’t have to step in.

  • NY City Girl

    I’m all for this too. Yellow cabs don’t stop for me and I live in one of the “good neighborhoods.” I don’t mind paying eight dollars to get to where I need to go either. It is not every day that I need a cab.

    What I do mind is living in a city where a cab doesn’t stop for me because of my complexion – when I do need one.

    • YellowCabsFail

      I live close to JFK and they still wont stop for me, but they will stop for my GF who is white. At first she didn’t believe me so we both try to hail for a cab at the same time and on the same side of the street and she got them TWICE! i live in a good neighborhood but that has no bearing.

      • sallyrogers

        |Anything close to JFK is not a good neighborhood.

  • Shane Devino

    give me a break! those taxi drivers refuse… YEP REFUSE… to take people to brooklyn, queens, and the bronx every day!. their actions are illegal. it’s time the nypd do a sting operation on a daily basis! there should be a new law penalizing these taxi drivers $10,000 per violation and 6 months in jail.

  • karma5230

    I don’t quite understand why they feel they will lose money since taxis don’t serve the outer boroughs or the areas in Upper Manhattan. When we lived in Queens getting a driver to take us to Queens was a bear. I heard every excuse under the sun including I don’t know how to get there. I had to offer to give them directions. Right. And forget about getting a street hail for a yellow taxi in Queens. If the Yellow cabs won’t serve an area I am all for finding a way to do so. They are the ones who created the problem by refusing to serve all areas of the city.

    • taxidriver

      I’m a taxi driver i never say no just for few drivers that says no that does not means all drivers are bad

  • namesless

    I’m all for this. I live in Upper Manhattan. There are actually plenty of livery cabs but you have to be able to hail them because there a million different companies. I can’t carry around business cards for every one. Nor do I want to wait outside in freezing or raining weather while I wait for my pick-up to arrive. The worst, however, is that they have a minumum fare of $8.00 which means that if I go to the grocery store that is only 10 blocks away and want to take a cab back because I have a ton of heavy groceries it costs me twice what a yellow cab would charge.

  • Michael H.

    Cabbies can’t have it both ways. They don’t want to drive into the outer boroughs but at the same time they don’t want to let livery cabs do the job they don’t want to do.

    Remember folks, if a yellow cab driver doesn’t want to take you to one of the outer boroughs, call 311 and REPORT THEM. This will only end when cab drivers start getting fined for their behavior. If they don’t want to do their jobs they shouldn’t be driving in the first place.

    • YellowCabsFail

      @Michael H.
      Very true..they don’t want to drive in other areas so the backlash is the Livery cabs take over the other areas and they do a better job in my opinon. I live close to JFK and when I need a ride home, i prefer to take the bus than take a yellow cab. Half of them don’t know where they are going and its at your expense.

  • danny

    I live in Queens and it’s about time something like this happens. On Queens Blvd and 71st Ave in Forest Hills, there is a taxi stand. On any given afternoon rush, there are no yellow cabs there. It takes about 15 minutes for one to show and 5 people waiting. But there is always a car service. How about dollar vans next?

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