This Monday the Steps of City Hall New York staged the protest of hundred of cab drivers opposing the bill proposed by Mayor Bloomberg in Albany. The bill aims at the allowing livery car drivers to pick up passengers in certain parts of New York City, which is currently only legal for yellow cabs.
Posters and chants like Hail no, the bill must go and Save NYC taxis dominated the rally.
Bloomberg's idea is going around already for months and has been previously blocked by the City Council, due to concerns from outer-borough Council members. This time around, the Council needs not be consulted and it is expected to pass the Assembly without problems.
The current proposal plans to issue 30,000 new certificates for a new kind of livery taxi, which will be equipped with a meter, painted in another color than yellow and officially allowed to perform street pick ups outside Manhattan, a practice already common while not legally supported. The certificates will cost $1,500 and could help cover a budget deficit for the coming year. They would be too late for the reduction of this year's lay offs of teachers and closing of fire stations.
Making rides easier to hail outside Manhattan has always been a widely accepted goal, but now both yellow cab and livery car associations seem to oppose the new bill.
Livery drivers see the cab business suffer, which can only provide door-to-door service. According to the bill, they could now legally pick up customers on the way before reaching their original phone clients.
Currently, a full New York City taxi license costs between $650,000 and $800,000, which would be a big investment for many drivers, and the license is seen as the way into the American Dream by many up starts.
13,000 yellow cabs currently serve New York and the growth in population would justify additional cars, for the existent yellow cabs cannot be found in several neighborhood like Upper Manhattan.