ALBANY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — State lawmakers have voted to let New York City livery cab drivers legally pick up street hails in the city’s four outer boroughs and northern Manhattan.
Legislation passed Friday night by the Senate is backed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg and already passed the state Assembly.
Bloomberg issued a statement saying “transportation options for New Yorkers who live in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island and Upper Manhattan will improve dramatically.”
It would end the exclusive right of the city’s 13,000 yellow medallion cabs to pick up street hails.
Trying to reach underserved areas, backers would allow 30,000 street pickup permits to for-hire vehicles for $1,500 each, reserving midtown and lower Manhattan and airport street hails for yellow cabs whose medallions cost almost $700,000 each.
Bloomberg tried to assuage the negative feelings from yellow cabbies by saying their “exclusive right” in central Manhattan and the airports “protects the investment of medallion owners and the incomes of yellow taxi drivers.”
The mayor added that the legislation will “generate hundreds of millions in revenue for the city over the next several years, as well as much-needed new revenue for the MTA.”
Backers say an amendment will impose the same 50-cent surcharge on the livery cabs as on yellow cabs.
A spokesman says the governor’s office is reviewing whether to sign the bill.
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