NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Score one for Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
The state’s highest court has upheld his five borough taxi plan. Specially licensed cabs can now cruise the outer boroughs and northern Manhattan and actually pick up fares, ending hail hassles once and for all, CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer reported Thursday.
The 7 million New York City residents who live in the outer boroughs and northern Manhattan just got a ticket to ride. After a long court fight the state Court of Appeals has upheld the city’s right to start livery street hail service in areas where none has ever existed.
“Today, I am glad to say that the special interests have lost; the people have won,” Bloomberg said.
The mayor’s plan also allows the city to sell an additional 2,000 yellow taxi medallions — all accessible to the disabled — at about $1 million a pop.
“TLC is eager to move forward with its street hail livery service program so that street hail service is available in areas of the City where yellow taxicabs rarely go,” said Taxi and Limousine Commission Chairman David Yassky. “We are also eager to put more wheelchair-accessible for-hire cars on the road and look forward to working with the disability advocacy community to implement all of the progressive programs for service to the disabled already in motion.”
“This is a huge win for riders and drivers alike,” Bloomberg said.
Under the plan the TLC will be able to issue 18,000 hail licenses over the next three years – 20 percent must be handicapped-accessible.
Drivers can pick up passengers north of East 96th Street and West 110th Street as well as Brooklyn, Staten Island, the Bronx and Queens, except LaGuardia and John F. Kennedy airports.
The city has even designed a special borough taxi. Yes, it is apple green just like the “Big Apple.”
New Yorkers seemed split on the news.
“I don’t think it’s a great idea. I think it’s something that’s not necessary. I think it’s something that will bring more congestion and more smog,” said Cornelius Ricks of Harlem.
“I think anything that facilitates more transport and getting people around is a good idea,” added Sharon Weisberg of Midwood.
“Oh wow, that’s great. I think that will definitely be an asset, because it’s so congested. Sometimes it’s very difficult, especially on the weekend. So that’s great,” said Adrienne Williams of Harlem.
Officials said special grants will be available to help livery owners buy new vehicles or to make their current ones accessible for the disabled. Hail licenses will be issued on a first come, first serve basis.
Drivers can start applying Friday.
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