Home MTA Economics Hail me some subway improvements instead

Hail me some subway improvements instead

by Benjamin Kabak


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.

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Marsha March 28, 2007 - 10:41 am

Good points.

Streetsblog » Today’s Headlines March 29, 2007 - 9:36 am

[…] Standoff Over Critical Mass (Voice)Groundbreaking Set (Again) for Second Avenue Subway (Daily Intel)Proposed Taxi Stand Investment Should Go to Transit (Second Ave. Sagas)Bloomberg Likes San Gennaro – and Police Spying (Gothamist)City Bids to Control […]

Harlan March 29, 2007 - 11:07 am

The thing about the taxi stands is that if cabs knew they could go to a stand and pick up a fare in the outer boroughs, they’d be a lot less likely to complain about leaving Manhattan in the first place. The reason why cabbies (illegally) refuse fares to Brooklyn or Queens (or upper Manhattan) is because they know they’ll likely have to drive back to the city alone. The taxi stands would greatly reduce that problem.

Julia March 30, 2007 - 9:59 am

Hey, congrats on being linked from the Times!

Expanding subway (and bus) service in the outer boroughs is certainly more sustainable than taxis. I also wonder where these extra taxi stands would be located — if you have to travel to get to the taxi stand, you might as well travel to a subway stop.

In Western Queens, there are usually cabs to be had in the stretch between Jackson Heights and the Q’boro Bridge — where a lot of cabbies live.

David July 9, 2009 - 11:19 am

how do jou build this cabs?
i can’t build ny taxi’s


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