Home Asides Cuomo set to veto Bloomberg’s five-borough taxi plan

Cuomo set to veto Bloomberg’s five-borough taxi plan

by Benjamin Kabak

Just in case robbing the MTA wasn’t enough, Gov. Andrew “I am the government” Cuomo this week essentially torpedoed the city’s plan to expand cab service outside of Manhattan. Despite gaining approval in the State Senate and Assembly, the Mayor Bloomberg-backed plan to allow street hails of livery cabs north of 96th St. and outside of Manhattan has languished on Cuomo’s desk as medallion owners have spuriously claimed the measure would threatened their investments. Claiming that numerous issue are in the way, Cuomo threatened to veto the measure this week.

The backroom details are a bit hazy. The bill is to be presented today to Cuomo for the first time despite a summer approval in Albany, and a compromise plan to sell 2000 medallions that would generate $1 billion for the city has fallent apart. No news outlet, however, has explained the deal fell apart, and sources in Albany have been awfully quiet on the matter. Instead, the original bill be passed to Cuomo for action, and the governor is likely to say no.

If Cuomo does torpedo this effort, Bloomberg said he will try again next year, and supporters are on board with that plan. As Juan Gonzalez of The Daily News wrote this week, Cuomo’s inaction is inexplicable as this is essentially an issue that concerns securing better transportation options for underserved and less wealthy neighborhoods than those that are south of 96th St. in Manhattan. This time, Cuomo will cost the city $1 billion in revenue and more comprehensive cab service.

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John-2 December 9, 2011 - 1:24 pm

Since Andrew’s dad’s legacy is so much tied to Queens, it would be fun is some intrepid reporter would ask Mario what he thinks about improving medallion cab accessibility to the outer boroughs and the residents he was a champion of during his forays into city politics in the 1970s.

nycpat December 9, 2011 - 1:55 pm

Mario is on the board of Medallion Financial, the biggest medallion broker.

Bolwerk December 9, 2011 - 5:41 pm

*mumble* *mumble* paid not to understand it *mumble* *mumble*

The Cobalt Devil December 9, 2011 - 1:39 pm

Looks like our current Gov just doesn’t get it. One would imagine he’s never taken a subway ride or hopped in a cab in his whole life. Riding around in chauffeured Lincoln Town Cars leaves one immune to the needs of the riding public.

Alon Levy December 9, 2011 - 4:08 pm

I think the issue is not one of not getting it. Cuomo most likely knows exactly what he’s doing. It’s a power play: “you did not fellate me enough, so I’m going to deny you something you need.” Or maybe it’s just a special interest, like the aforementioned link between his father and Medallion Financial.

Bolwerk December 9, 2011 - 5:49 pm

I’d agree with you under normal circumstances, but I think I gotta side with Cobalt on this one. Mario’s Lad really seems to have an overwhelming windshield perspective. Whether it’s a hippie/hipster Beatle perspective, a yuppie Jaguar perspective, a guido muscle car perspective, a ritzy bureaucrat towncar perspective, a limousine liberal perspective, or ghetto Escalade perspective, I really don’t know or care. He just doesn’t seem aware, or is indifferent to the fact, that transit users and people in the outer boroughs without good access to personal transportation have needs too.

Alex C December 9, 2011 - 9:42 pm

It’s the being chauffeured in Lincoln Town Cars perspective Cobalt mentioned. Like most of the crooks in Albany, Cuomo doesn’t care. Subways brake down? Not his problem, he has a mansion and a luxury car ride to work, as do his cronies. They don’t care. They’re there to serve those who can promise campaign cash, and the hell with us “low income nobodies” as “Diamond” Joe Quimby would say. How about we start calling him “Diamond” Andrew Cuomo? Fits him. Same as Bloomberg, protect the interests of themselves and their rich friends and donors.

Miles Bader December 9, 2011 - 10:47 pm

But even Bloomberg, rich as he is, seems far more aware about these things than Cuomo, even if he’s sometimes a bit tone-deaf.

Of course Bloomberg seems to have grown up in much more humble circumstances than Cuomo (and actually made his fortune by himself).

Tsuyoshi December 10, 2011 - 12:29 pm

I think the difference here is that Cuomo has lived in the suburbs his entire life.

Bolwerk December 10, 2011 - 11:12 pm

Yeah, I’m with Miles. I’m not exactly going to wax a hardon for most of Mayor Mike’s policies or his ideology, but on transport issues he’s at least reasonable. He actually can look at the situation and see that the plebes out in Maspeth don’t have great transit or taxi options, and like it or not many of them can’t afford cars. Whether Bloomberg actually empathizes with them is a whole other debate, but at least he can look at the data and see the situation for what it is. It’s the supposedly populist governor who is supposed to kinda-sorta understand what it’s like to be middle class who keeps making transport-related decisions that screw the middle/working class, while the billionaire 1%‰ mayor actually understands the issue either because he can’t be purchased or he actually thinks about it.

SpendmoreWastemore December 11, 2011 - 5:34 pm

I gotta jump in here.
Those TCs are not some 1%er luxury; uptown they’re your lifeline. They’re cheap – sometimes a few bucks more, sometimes less than a yellow cab but better drivers and they go to where _you_ are, when you need them. I lived in Harlem, lots of people can’t afford cars but still need to haul bags of laundry, 3 armloads of groceries, an air conditioner or whatever.

They also might want to go somewhere or at some time when the subway is useless. Lots of these folks work the night shift, many are just by culture up later. There’s hair places open at midnight in the summer (that helps keep the streets far less crazy than they would be otherwise).

If you get one of the few where the factory air springs haven’t been swapped out for gorrilla legs they are the only public vehicle that has a decent ride. Most tho are fleet owned and the fleets all ditch the air system to simplify maintenance.

There’s a crosstown trip I used to flag a black car for. About 25 minutes total with a good driver (knows the traffic patters), or nearly an hour plus in my case a vertigo on a bus (the crashing/banging and noise on a bus aggravate a neurological condition I have). Except if I take that bus I can’t do a d-mn thing when I get there, too wiped out from the physical assault of it. A hybrid yellow cab about halfway between the 2.

SpendmoreWastemore December 11, 2011 - 5:18 pm

He gets it alright. See Alon’s comment – he gets it from the medallion owners.

Unfortunately, government is not about providing services, it’s about getting big contributions, trading favors, selling influence and with all that vacuuming up votes. Directly or indirectly, people vote for everything except effective goverment. Honest people, if you could find one in New York, don’t go far or last long in politics.

Larry Littlefield December 9, 2011 - 1:58 pm

Somehow I wonder if the whole purpose of this was to get the $billion. The city may be facing a fiscal day of reckoning next year.

Roy December 9, 2011 - 2:30 pm

New as I am to New York, indeed American, politics, can someone explain to me why this has to go to Albany in the first place – surely the City should decide how to licence its taxis?

nycpat December 9, 2011 - 4:12 pm

The state is sovereign. All municipalities exist on its sufferance. The taxi industry has the council all locked up. Only a third term billionaire mayor would challenge the taxi industry.

BBnet3000 December 9, 2011 - 4:17 pm

State approval over city policies was part of a compromise when the city annexed the outer boroughs, as the combined Greater New York was a very solid majority of the states population at the time.

Or at least thats how i understand it.

Bolwerk December 9, 2011 - 6:09 pm

Maybe kinda, but not really. Home rule was certainly narrowed a lot in the wake of the 1970s financial crisis. Surely Robert Moses can be pointed to as another source.

Early on, there were rules limiting representation of the city to a certain percentage of the legislature, IIRC.

Tsuyoshi December 10, 2011 - 12:22 pm

It’s a curious thing about American politics. While the federal government only has the power to override state government under circumstances specified by the US constitution, local governments usually only have the powers that state governments choose to give them. I’ve lived in six different states and in most of them, cities have to beg the state for almost everything. Usually the only important thing city governments have control over is zoning.

BBnet3000 December 9, 2011 - 4:16 pm

Cuomo to City: Drop Dead

U want me in I'll be back December 9, 2011 - 4:38 pm

Im the taxi owner guys watch out , there are 2 sides to every issue, no time now , but I’ll be back

Bolwerk December 9, 2011 - 6:06 pm

When you come back, could you kindly bring some beer? Since you own a taxi, I’m sure you know a bodega or two.

Alex C December 9, 2011 - 9:52 pm

Yes, on one side there’s you taxi drivers. You don’t want to serve Manhattan above 96 St and the other 4 boroughs. And you don’t want anyone else to be able to either, in case once in a century a yellow cab might venture outside your current area of service. And then there’s everyone else who disagrees with you. But good for you, our governor is at your service, so be happy.

SpendmoreWastemore December 11, 2011 - 5:43 pm

Then there’s the livery cab drivers, who will take you anywhere you need to go 24/7 and help load/unload your stuff. Usually with a clean, sound insulated, moderately comfortable Town Car, albeit often with stiff taxi springs swapped in roughening the smooth Lincoln ride it should have. Even then they’re still ahead of the ox cart ride you get in the back of any of the alternate vehicles.

Abie December 10, 2011 - 6:05 am

This is not the end. This will be brought up again. The people who are desiring the street hail taxi service will get it, it just won’t be the plan the mayor wants. It will be something that takes all interests into consideration. The mayor’s plan was all one sided.

Mario December 11, 2011 - 6:01 am

While this issue was being debated, many innovative taxi apps have been developed last summer. Check out Cabulous and Hailo for example. Potential passengers can book a ride by the smart phone with GPS equipped cab nearby with a few simple clicks. Passengers can track the location of cab while waiting. Currently the apps are being used in London and Europe. It seems some NYC FHV like black car or livery car are using, but I don’t know how much percent. It will definitely catch up for better match of passengers and cabs. Check NYC.gov/TLC in the middle of home page. Good luck outerboro residents! Oh there is an app for sharing ride also.


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