Cuomo signs bill granting street hails to livery cabs

By · Published in 2011

After much political wrangling, a move to bypass the City Council and some arm-twisting by the Governor, Andrew Cuomo has signed the bill that will allow livery cabs to accept street hails. Billed as a measure that will improve Outer Borough taxi service, the new plan could help the city realize as much as $1 billion in increased revenue and will improve accessibility options as well.

Details are still emerging from Albany, but right now, we know that what the contours of the final compromise will be. The new bill approves the issuance of 2000 new yellow cab medallions, all of which much be wheelchair-accessible and 18,000 livery street-hail permits. Of those, 3600 will be for wheelchair-accessible vehicles. These street-hail permits will sell initially for $1500 each, and then purchasers can sell them for market value. To improve accessibility — a major sticking point for the Governor — the city will spend $54 million on taxi subsidies and must submit to Albany a long-term plan for accessibility in order to release 1600 of the new 2000 yellow cab medallions.

I’ll have more as this story develops, but it seems that, at the last minute, New Yorkers finally gained something related to transportation from the governor. Over the next three years, as these 18000 medallions are phased in, no longer will residents in cab-starved neighborhoods have to search for street transportation in vain. This measure will change the way we get around.

Categories : Asides, Taxis

13 Responses to “Cuomo signs bill granting street hails to livery cabs”

  1. Eric Brasure says:

    This just legalizes something that people already do, and at $1500 a pop, it’s revenue that the state couldn’t pass up. Of course, that’s $1500 a pop that’s basically protection money, but whatever.

  2. Frank B. says:

    Cuomo actually passed something that was relatively useful and helped New Yorkers.

    It’s a Christmas miracle. (Though it’s technically the first night of Hanukkah, so, Hanukkah miracle. :D)

  3. Alon Levy says:

    These street-hail permits will sell initially for $1500 each, and then purchasers can sell them for market value.

    This is a racket. Instead of auctioning the permits, the state will sell them at a trivial price, so that the first buyer can shift them and make windfall profits.

    The quality of government in New York is so bad it almost makes me want to turn full-blown anarchist.

  4. Alex C says:

    And with the MTA being torpedoed by Albany, people will need those new taxis, too. Good timing.

  5. TP says:

    My only concern with this is that I wonder if it will make it even harder to get a cab to take you home to Upper Manhattan or the Outer Boroughs from Lower Manhattan? As an able bodied young man I never take cabs from home, I only take them to home when it’s late at night and the trains are running local at 20 minute headways and I’m tired and have been drinking too much. So I don’t personally have use for livery cabs, but wonder if cabbies will be even more dismissive of the whole “you have to take fares anywhere in the 5 boroughs” law that they already constantly flout.

  6. ajedrez says:

    The question is what cabbie in their right mind would want to cruise outer borough streets when the opportunities are in Manhattan? I mean, chances are very few people are looking for cabs, unless they’re dollar cabs.

    • Alon Levy says:

      In a perfectly competitive market, the probability of finding a fare, adjusted for how profitable the fare is, is the same everywhere. There are more fares in Manhattan, yes, but also more cabs there. A cabbie may well decide that there are too many cabs competing for the same fares on the Upper West Side and cruise Flatbush Avenue instead.

    • Bolwerk says:

      It’s not like they have to cruise the streets. This gives them the option to pick up passengers when the opportunity arises; it doesn’t take away their option to be dispatched to a passenger.

      Given the geographic breadth of the outer boroughs and the limited number of medallions being issued, actually finding one of these guys if you’re looking is probably going to be hard. But it does get a foot in the door.


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  2. […] the past few weeks, New York taxis have dominated the transit headlines. Gov. Andrew Cuomo finally signed the livery cab hail bill, and wheelchair-accessible taxicabs took the spotlight. Despite the high costs of such access, the […]

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