It’s easier to hail a Lego taxi in the outer boroughs than a Yellow cab. (Courtesy of Lego Certified Professional Sean Kenney)
The Internets were a-twitter yesterday with news of the City Council proposal to try out ten yellow taxi stands in the Outer Boroughs. For “about $5 million over three years, not to mention capital and other expenses,” the denizens of Queens, Brookly, the Bronx and Staten Island would have the pleasure of knowing that a yellow cab would be waiting for them somewhere.
Now, as anyone who’s ever tried to hail – or simply take – a cab from Manhattan into the not-so-far reaches of the city’s other four boroughs knows, cab drivers are beyond hesitant to venture away from the island that makes up New York County. And as Matthew W. Daus, Taxi and Limousine Commission chairman, noted during the debate, only a meager eight percent of taxi trips do not involve Manhattan or the airports.
But why bother sink money into taxi stands that aren’t necessary? Daus, a Bay Ridge resident, noted that car services and the so-called gypsy cabs that operate outside the realm of the law seem to suit the needs of non-Manhattan residents better anyway. The four borough presidents took exception to this statement, noting that gypsy cabs are illegal and unreliable and that car services tend to bilk unknowing passengers out of their hard-earned money. In the end, though, Daus and the City Council shot down the bill, and even Mayor Bloomberg urged folks to use the “black cars” instead of waiting for a medallioned taxi.
So things look bleak for the outer borough crowd. But that’s where Second Ave. Sagas comes in. The city was all set to spend at least $5 million for these taxi stands, but the Council nixed that idea. Let’s turn around and invest that $5 million into subway service for the outer boroughs.
The city could add some more cars to a few of the neglected trains lines. They could beef up G service or extend the V through Brooklyn. They could invest in some more track work to maintain the system or invest in some badly-needed station rehabilitation projects.
According to the MTA’s Capital Program budget numbers, $5 million could rehab a station or double the track replacement budget. While not a massive contribution, every little bit helps the MTA in an effort to provide subway service to everyone in New York.
“You have a better chance of seeing God than seeing a yellow cab,” Councilman Vincent M. Ignizio, from Staten Island, said during the debates. Well, maybe God wants us to take the subway instead.