Five-Boro Taxi Plan Blocked

The New York Supreme Court blocked the mayor’s five-borough taxi plan on August 17. The plan would have allowed residents living outside of Manhattan the opportunity to hail a legal New York City taxi cab, instead of calling a car service.

“It should be as easy to hail a cab in East Flatbush as it is on the Upper East Side,” said Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer. “Millions of hard working New Yorkers who live outside the Manhattan core are treated like second-class citizens. “

Judge Arthur Engoron presided over the ruling, but it was being finalized as this paper went to press. Once this happens, the city plans to make an appeal, said a spokesperson for the Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC).

David Yassky, commissioner and chairperson of the TLC, said that the decision was “a great loss to millions of New Yorkers outside of Manhattan, as well as for the professional livery drivers whose ability to feed their families by providing a popular service their communities want and deserve is now in jeopardy,” he stated.

“It also serves to prevent the sale of 2,000 additional wheelchair accessible taxicab medallions, which would have brought needed taxicab service to disabled New Yorkers and visitors,” Yassky went on. “We owe it to all New Yorkers to appeal this judge’s opinion.”

Michael Cardozo, corporation counsel of the New York City Law Department, agreed with Yassky, saying he was “deeply disappointed” by the ruling and would be filing an appeal.

“The irrational fear of lost profits by medallion owners and lenders should not be permitted to derail these important programs,” he stated.

However, The Metropolitan Taxicab Board of Trade applauded the decision.

“The statute was unconstitutional including passage without a home rule message from the City Council and violating the exclusive privileges provision of the state constitution,” stated attorney Michael Woloz, on behalf of the MTBOT. “Thousands of drivers and small business owners in both the taxi and livery industries are breathing a sigh of relief that their livelihoods will not be destroyed by this flawed and destructive plan.”

Closer to home, Peter Killen, president of the Bay Ridge AARP, said that he thinks the mayor was “pulling a scam,” adding that the five-borough plan would “hurt” current drivers.

“The only people who can actually afford a medallion at $1 million a pull are multi-million dollar corporations. Even through corporations are people, I don’t have to like it,” Killen said.

Larry, an employee at Harbor View Car Service, said that his business would not buy a medallion if they had the opportunity to, anyway. “It doesn’t affect us, we have an established business,” he said of the decision.

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