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Cabbies Rally Against Livery Drivers Picking Up Fares Outside Manhattan

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New York City taxis are parked on Washington Avenue outside the Capitol in Albany, N.Y., on Tuesday, June 21, 2011. (credit: Mike Groll/AP)

New York City taxis are parked on Washington Avenue outside the Capitol in Albany, N.Y., on Tuesday, June 21, 2011. (credit: Mike Groll/AP)

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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.)

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