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TLC Warns Of Renegade Apple Green Taxis Operating Without Permits

Just A Few Dozen Legal Apple Green Taxis Are Currently On The Road
Imposter apple green taxi in Harlem, August 21, 2013. (credit: Alex Silverman/WCBS 880)

Imposter apple green taxi in Harlem, August 21, 2013. (credit: Alex Silverman/WCBS 880)

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – The Taxi and Limousine Commission is planning to crack down on apple green cab imposters who are trying to cheat the system.

The green cabs hit upper Manhattan and the outer boroughs for street-hails in June, following a court battle.

But as WCBS 880’s Alex Silverman reported, with any new system comes some who will find a way around it.

“We’ve heard that some of the car services are starting to paint their car the same shade of green,” Taxi and Limousine Commissioner David Yassky told Silverman. “We want to make sure there’s no confusion among the public so that the new rule says unless you’re a legitimate borough taxi, you can’t paint your car that color.”

The imposter cabs don’t have meters, roof lights or permits, Yassky said.

A few apple green-colored cars were spotted driving through Harlem Wednesday morning, but the drivers did not want to stop to comment, Silverman reported.

One driver said he’s in the process of getting a new outer borough license, but would not game the system out of fear of the TLC’s wrath.

“We don’t cheat out the law in New York City law,” the driver told Silverman.

A driver named Jason said he’d never skirt the rules, but said he has friends who’ve gone green illegally.

“Paint them because they want to make more money,” he told Silverman.

In response to the renegade cabs, the commission will vote on a new rule which would ban all shades of green – from chartreuse to sea foam – for cars without the street-hail license.

The TLC has warned car owners to avoid green in the meantime.

So far, the commission has issued about 1,800 green taxi permits, though just a small fraction are currently in use.

“There are only a few dozen actually on the road today,” Yassky said.

By the end of the year, Yassky said there will be 1,000 of the apple green cabs on the road.

The cabs are barred from picking up fares south of East 96th Street and West 110th Street and at the airports, known as the so-called “yellow zone.” The meters are equipped with GPS technology, blocking them from being used out of their territory.

Under the plan, the TLC will be able to issue 18,000 hail licenses over the next three years. Of those, 20 percent must be handicap-accessible.

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