Cabbies Rally Against Livery Drivers Picking Up Fares Outside Manhattan

ALBANY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — The state Assembly has voted 110-28 to pass legislation to let livery drivers legally pick up passengers who hail them in the city’s four outer boroughs and northern Manhattan.

With dozens of yellow cabs from New York City lining the streets around the state Capitol on Tuesday and their medallion drivers rallying in opposition to the bill, Republican Sen. Martin Golden of Brooklyn told them talks continue with Mayor Michael Bloomberg to see if something else can be worked out.

Drivers who own taxi medallions or rent cabs from medallion owners said they’ll lose money along with the exclusive legal right to “street hails” in the city. They said most of the 30,000 to 40,000 cab drivers, many of them immigrants, individually earn about $80 to $100 for a 12-hour shift after paying up to $129 for the lease and $40 for gas.

In a sponsors’ memo, Bronx Assemblyman Carl Heastie said the goal was reaching underserved areas and making travel in the city more affordable.

The measure would authorize 1,500 more cab licenses, with more than one-third handicapped-accessible, up to 30,000 hail privilege permits to for-hire vehicles, and 450 permits for base stations.

Medallion drivers said lax enforcement already lets livery drivers illegally scoop fares.

“They’re picking up, but it’s illegal,” driver Mohammed Hossain said. “They’re only call services.”

About 100 demonstrators gathered at the Capitol outside the Senate chamber, urging passing senators to vote no. The demonstrators then moved to the hallway outside the Assembly chamber while the bill was being debated.

The city has more than 13,000 yellow taxis. According to GPS data collected by the taxi commission, 97 percent of their pickups are in central Manhattan and at the city’s two airports. But 80 percent of the city’s population lives outside Manhattan.

Should livery cab drivers be allowed to pick up passengers in the outer boroughs? Sound off in our comments section below…

(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

  • jweimer

    I just need to say that I’m thrilled to read that almost a third of the new medallions would be for accessible vehicles. Vincent Fenerty, Executive Director of PPA in Philadelphia could learn a thing or two from this!

  • arn

    this is America, there shouldn’t be any monopolies here. its about time, just like Ma Bell was shot time, that Yellow cabs get their comeuppance. smokersodysseycom

  • BlknBald

    60 Minutes did an interesting test years back and taped it and aired it on TV. They sent two interns college age out into the street right outside the studios to hail yellow cabs. One black, one white… Different corners of the same street. Three or four times each… The white intern got picked up every time. The Black one got picked up once out of the four and when he said he was going uptown the guy put him out. Without livery cabs, there is no cab service to communities of color.

  • Marina Ios

    scuze-me, but these are the same yellow cabs who, if you hail them in manhattan and tell them you are going home in queens, they have a stereotype answer….”sorry, i am going to the garage…” , no matter what time of day or night is it , because they dont want to go to queens
    i used lots of times yellow cabs and lots of times car services, the big difference is that the car services go , without whinning, anywhere: manhattan, astoria, brooklyn, etc etc

    • Dale Auburn

      Even the cabbies who live in Queens will give you that BS.

  • YelloCabsFail

    Yellow cabs = Fail
    Livery cabs =1

  • Big Nard

    Yellow cabs can be hailed only in Manhattan. So, it’s the yellow cabbies fault. Livery cabbies got to eat too.

  • CC

    Are these the same yellow cab drivers who won’t pick up African-Americans or anyone else of a brown or black complexion? Black and Brown communities throughout Manhattan and the non-Manhattan areas couldn’t get a yellow cab to pick up any of their residents. Many times yellow cabs would traveling through these communities would put on their “off duty” signs so that they wouldn’t have to pick up people who lived in these communities. The non-yellow delivery cabs services were created to service these communities. Once the City found out how much money was being made in these communities, the City annexed these non-yellow cabs but they still can’t pick up fares at the airports. I think it’s time these yellow cabs are paid back for their discriminatory practices. They can’t have it both ways. Pay back is a b****.

  • Camille of Ossining.

    Are these the same yellow cabbies who 9 times out of 10 refuse to take fares to Brooklyn, Westchester, or other non Manhattan locales in the tri-state area? Now they want to claim the outer-boroughs as their territory?! They’ve got a lot of nerve. They don’t want to take us to the outer-boroughs, but they want the option of our business, hnm, let’s welcome the livery cabs with open arms!

    • Barbara

      You do understand that these drivers will also not take you to the outer boroughs. They can only take you FROM the outer boroughs. In Manhattan, they will have to refuse you just like the yellow cabs!

      • tonyg


        The livery guys will take you anywhere you want the law may say they cant take you from Manhattan to the outer boroughs but they will. Plus just getting serivce into manhattan will be a boon

  • Len

    This is absurd. Anyone who lives in The Bronx knows that a yellow cab sighting is as rare as some bird sightings, so for these people to be saying that this would somehow impoverish them is a joke. They can’t have it both ways. They cannot refuse to provide service to our communities and then try to prevent those who do from making a living. Livery cab drivers literally put their lives on the line to provide this service in The Bronx and they deserve our support. What is really hurting the yellow cab drivers are the ridiculously high licensing fees they have to pay in order to drive a cab. That’s what they need to be protesting about.

    • YelloCabsFail

      Well put!

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