NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Gov. Andrew Cuomo held a summit in Albany Wednesday to try and reach a deal on allowing New York City livery cabs to pick up street hails. However, Taxi & Limousine Commissioner David Yassky said no such deal has been reached.
Despite the lack of a resolution, Yassky called Wednesday’s meeting “very productive” and said he was looking forward to future talks.
A bill, which would legally permit livery street hails, was passed by the legislature back in June. It would allow livery drivers to pick up passengers north of 96th Street in Manhattan and in the outer 4 boroughs. The bill would also allow 30,000 street pickup permits to for-hire vehicles for $1,500 each.
However, since the time the bill passed, there have been a number of road blocks preventing it from being signed into law.
“The legislature passed the bill, but then the legislature said when they passed the bill that there’s still a lot of details to work out and they would sit down and work out the details. They never did, so if I can’t work it out, then it’ll go back to them and they can finish the job that they started,” Cuomo said.
One of the most recent issues that has come up is access for handicapped riders, something Cuomo has pushed for.
“One of the main issues is access for the disabled to liveries and taxis, which is very important — period. It’s a legal issue, I believe if we don’t work that out, the plan will be challenged in court anyway and the challenge will be successful.”
Livery cab advocates argued that they should be allowed to buy into a medallion system instead of a permit.
“We want to make sure drivers have the opportunity to buy into a medallion system, not throw their money away buying a permit that’s useless,” Fernando Mateo, President of the New York State Federation of Taxi Drivers, said in early November.
Another contentious issue was yellow cabs fearing that the livery hails would devalue their medallions, two of which sold earlier this year for $1 million each.
Time is running out for an agreement to be reached because the bill expires at the end of the year.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a strong proponent of the bill, argues the measure — which also calls for 1,500 additional taxi medallions — would raise much-needed revenue for the city.
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