Tag Archives: livery cabs

TLC lets liveries pick up passengers


| brennison@queenscourier.com

Livery cabs have received the green light to begin picking up street hails, a decision that has many yellow taxi drivers red in the face.

The decision was passed 7-2 by the city’s Taxi and Limousine Commission on Thursday, April 19.

“We’re seeing the birth of a wholly new service today that will allow communities throughout the five boroughs to enjoy and come to rely on the same levels of quality taxi service that are only experienced in portions of Manhattan,” said TLC Commissioner and Chair David Yassky.

Like yellow taxis, the fleet will have a unique color that has yet to be revealed, roof lights and meters.

Six thousand of the 18,000 street hail licenses will begin being sold for $1,500 in June, though a lawsuit filed a day before the vote has requested an injunction.

“The very same city that sold [yellow taxi drivers] the exclusive right to pick up street hails, no longer has the exclusive right,” said Michael Woloz, spokesperson for the

Metropolitan Taxicab Board of Trade, which represents nearly 4,000 yellow medallion taxicabs.

The lawsuit, filed in Manhattan, charges that the outer borough street hail plan violates the rights of yellow taxi medallion owners and drivers who paid for the exclusive right to pick up street hails in New York City.

“The over 5,000 individual owner/drivers are not wealthy people,” Woloz said. “These are New Yorkers who have invested in an asset that New York City has protected for the last 75 years. The value of the medallion is going to plummet because of government interference.”

Woloz cited more than $5 billion in outstanding medallion loans and the potential for a housing market-like crash if the value of the medallions declines.

Because the bill was passed by the state Legislature without a “Home Rule” message from the City Council, the lawsuit says the bill is in violation of the state constitution. A

“Home Rule” message indicates the approval of the local legislative body over a policy that only affects that locality.

“State senators from western New York had more say on taxi service in Queens than any City Council members,” Woloz said.

If a judge allows the plan to stand, street hails will only be legal above West 110th Street and East 96th Street and in the four outer boroughs. Liveries that solicit street hails in a prohibited area face the forfeiture of their license.

Top Headlines From Around the Web


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

TLC Holds Final Vote On Plan Allowing Livery Cab Hails

The city’s Taxi and Limousine Commission is set to vote today on the five-borough taxi plan which, if passed, would allow livery cabs to pick up street hails in Upper Manhattan and the other four boroughs. Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a bill in December allowing the city to issue up to 18,000 permits for livery cabs that can pick up street hails. Now the TLC will hold a hearing and vote on new rules meant to cover livery hail cabs, traditional livery cars and yellow taxis. Read More: NY1

 

Report: City Steps Up Enforcement Of Parks Smoking Ban

After mostly looking the other way, city parks officers have been stepping up enforcement of the smoking ban in city parks. According to the Wall Street Journal, officers have handed out 108 summonses so far this year for smoking at parks, beaches and pedestrian plazas. That’s compared to just 84 tickets that were issued in the first eight months of the ban. Violators face a $50 fine. The ban was originally billed as a self-enforcing law. Read More: NY1

 

FBI agents search Manhattan apartment for remains of Etan Patz

A team of investigators was tearing up an empty SoHo basement Thursday morning in a hunt for the remains of long-missing 6-year-old Etan Patz. The joint FBI/NYPD team, which began searching around 8:30 a.m., was reinvestigating the cold case that has captivated the nation for the last 33 years, said NYPD spokesman Paul Browne. “Information that was known at the time is being re-examined,” Browne said. “It does involve a suspect. They’re looking to see if they find any remains.” Read More: Daily News
Hollis community leaders aim to take back abandoned buildings

Next to the scores of children enjoying recess at Renaissance Middle School’s playground is a brick wasteland that stretches for two blocks in Hollis. In most of the dilapidated buildings — on one side of Hollis Ave. between 202nd St. and 204th St. — the windows are boarded up, shattered or cracked. Some have crumbling front steps. Others have walls cracked to their foundation. Weeds have taken over lawns and sidewalks, and trash is strewn in the back yards. If it looks desolate and deserted, that’s because they’ve been abandoned for 16 years, said community leaders, who have tried in vain to buy the buildings from the landlord, Rita Stark. Read More: Daily News
Secret Service pre-planned party at Colombian Hotel

Secret Service agents did their own sexy advance work — booking a hotel party space for prostitutes in Colombia before hitting the town to scout local pros, according to a new report.President Obama’s men made reservations for a party room, big enough to hold 30 people, at at the Hotel Caribe in Cartagena, and then hit a local brothel, ABC News reported today. The boom-boom room bombshell shows that disgraced agents were getting the lay of the land, in advance to long night of fun. Read More: New York Post

Parents of young girls sexually assaulted by Yeshiva tutor lash out at perv

The parents of two young girls who were sexually assaulted by their religious tutor, lashed out this morning at the “wolf in sheep’s clothing” they allowed in their homes as a judge tossed the pervert in jail. Yeshiva student Hillel Selznick, 25, of Flushing, admitted to Queens Supreme Court Justice Richard Buchter that he inappropriately touched the two fourth graders over the course of a year during private religious lessons inside their Kew Gardens Hills homes. Read More: New York Post

Bill would expand taxis to outer boroughs


| mpantelidis@queenscourier.com

The New York City Assembly recently “hailed” legislation that may prove “golden” for livery cabs.

The bill — passed on January 23 and carried by Assemblymember Carl Heastie from the Bronx — will allow the city to issue 18,000 hail accessible inter-borough licenses (HAIL), which permit livery cab drivers to pick up pedestrians. Twenty percent of the licenses will go to accessible vehicles, in order to offer more transportation options to citizens with disabilities. The legislation has already been agreed upon with Governor Andrew Cuomo and the state.

“For too long, persistent transportation problems within New York City have gone unanswered, leading to a nearly nonexistent taxi presence outside of Manhattan’s Central Business District and a troubling lack of vehicles for people with disabilities,” said Assemblymember Francisco Moya, who co-sponsored the bill. “This new plan will afford New Yorkers in underserved areas greater access to taxicab service in and around the city. This will also lead to more revenue for the city of New York, helping protect vital programs for seniors and hardworking families.”

Under the legislation, the city will issue the new licenses over the next three years. New York will also be authorized to issue as many as 450 new base permits, increasing the number of taxi dispatching services and generating $1.3 million in revenue.

In addition, the Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) will issue 2,000 new taxicab licenses for vehicles that are accessible to people with disabilities. As part of the agreement, TLC will also be required to provide grants of up to $15,000 to retrofit HAIL vehicles to accommodate people with disabilities and establish a program to support the introduction of handicapped-accessible vehicles into the HAIL vehicle fleet.

Despite the vast support the bill reportedly received in the Assembly, Fernando Mateo, the founder and spokesperson for the New York State Federation of Taxi Drivers, is unsure if the increase in HAIL’s will have a positive effect.

“This is a bill that the governor has signed, and we expected some amendments to be made by the Assembly and Senate,” Mateo said. “We are no longer going to oppose what has been done. Instead we will assist those drivers who want to participate in the program. We believe the program has a lot of pluses and minuses. In the last 80 years, there have been only 13,400 yellow medallions issued, so it is questionable in my mind whether they can sell even near the 18,000 licenses they will issue. The math doesn’t add up, and it doesn’t make much sense. But let’s see what will happen.”