New York Outer-Borough Taxi Plan Approved by Commission

April 20, 2012 Updated: April 20, 2012

NEW YORK—The Taxi and Limousine Commission voted 7–2 to approve the outer-borough taxi plan on Thursday.

The plan would grant 18,000 outer-borough taxis, also known as livery cabs or black cabs, licenses to pick up street hails. Currently black cabs can only legally pick up passengers who call a dispatcher for them and face fines if they pick up street hails.

The plan also includes making 2,000 additional yellow taxi medallions available over the next three years, pending the commission completing an Environmental Impact Statement on the effects of new medallions.

However, more than 400 medallions cannot be issued before the completion of a Disabled Accessibility Plan, which needs approval by the state Department of Transportation.

Allan J. Fromberg, deputy commissioner for public affairs, said the commission is working on the plan, though he could not provide any details, while the New York State Department of Transportation, which must approve the plan, wasn’t aware of the plan.

The commission plans to sell the first 6,000 outer-borough licenses in June for $1,500 each.

However, a lawsuit on Wednesday by the Metropolitan Taxicab Board of Trade, New York’s largest association of yellow medallion taxi fleets, could delay or block the plan. The association argues that the proposed plan “violates the rights of yellow taxi medallion owners and taxi drivers who have paid for the legally protected ‘exclusive’ right to pick up street hails in New York City for 75 years,” according to a release.

This mirrors the opposition seen in the commission vote, which “came after six hours of raucous and emotional public testimony,” according to WYNC. Two people were escorted from the meeting for shouting.

The outer-borough cabs would have to install credit card machines, meters, and GPS units.

In addition to the Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn, and Staten Island, the outer-borough designation means outside of airports and north of West 110th Street and East 96th Street in Manhattan, where 95 percent of all yellow taxi street-hail pickups happen, according to the taxi commission.

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