New York’s 18,000-some yellow taxi drivers are joining unions and politicians in opposition to the proposed horse carriage ban bill, which is set to be introduced in City Hall today, Dec. 8.
Mayor Bill de Blasio had promised to close down the industry from the very beginning of his term, and last week Queens Council member Dromm was tapped to sponsor the legislation.
“Banning an entire industry without thought to the loss of livelihoods is not something we can take lightly,” Bhairavi Desai, executive director of New York Taxi Workers Alliance, said in a statement.
The proposal includes offering the 300 horse carriage drivers and stable workers permits for green cabs to address the loss of jobs. Council members for the ban have praised the mayor’s solution and council member against the ban say it is inadequate.
“Workers can’t be just moved around like pieces on a chess board,” Bhairavi stated.
The Taxi and Limousine Commission oversees the green cab permits and sells a limited number every year. It takes up to four months to process new licenses and there is currently a wait list for the (non-wheelchair accessible) permits.
Bhairavi said the industry is already seeing pressure from high competition and it violates protocol to jump 300 horse carriage drivers to the front of the line.
“The contradictions speak to how the proposition is equally insulting and impractical,” Bhairavi stated. “The horse carriage industry, similar to taxis, is highly regulated and the drivers have worked for years to create important protections for the horses they care for. And they’ve struggled to build good jobs, among the few remaining in this economy, especially for new immigrants with professional care-taking skills. We want to share the city, not flood the streets.”