Reporting Stan Brooks
NEW YORK (1010 WINS) — Calling him a “billionaire bully,” a small, but emotional group of cab drivers protested against Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s plan to allow livery cabs to pick up street hails in New York City.
About 100 cabbies gathered at City Hall Park on Tuesday to let Bloomberg know of their feelings regarding legislation that passed in Albany that would allow 30,000 street pickup permits to for-hire vehicles for $1,500 each.
The legislation has not yet been signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo, but Bloomberg has expressed confidence it will become law.
1010 WINS’ Stan Brooks Reports From The Protest At City Hall
“You are killing us by telling us this. I’m not sleeping, I’ve not been sleeping since I heard this news and I’m still standing here. I cannot wait to hear something better from you Bloomberg,” said one taxi driver. “I don’t think you’ve driven before, I don’t think you know what yellow means — this is our life.”
Proponents of the plan argue it will provide access to taxis for people living in the Bronx, Staten Island, Queens, Brooklyn and upper Manhattan.
However, the protesting cabbies warned the plan to legalize livery street hails would kill the yellow cab industry.
“What the Bloomberg administration is trying to do is basically take your hard earned right. What you have give blood and sweat to build this industry from scratch and give it away to the ordinary gypsy cabs — it’s not going to happen,” said another protestor.
The mayor’s office insisted his five borough plan would bring safe and reliable service to New Yorkers outside Manhattan.
Bloomberg has also earlier made the point that Midtown, lower Manhattan and airport street hails would still be reserved for yellow cabs, whose medallions cost almost $700,000 each.