After months of negotiations and gridlock, the street hail bill finally received the green light.
Governor Andrew Cuomo announced on Tuesday, December 20 an agreement had been reached to bring street hails to all five boroughs. The deal came just one day before the Wednesday, December 21 deadline.
The plan allows livery cabs to pick up street hails in upper Manhattan and the outer boroughs, while also authorizing the city to sell 2,000 new medallions. The medallions will raise close to $1 billion in revenue for the city, the mayor said. The Taxi & Limousine Commission will issue up to 18,000 new street hail licenses.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the driving force behind liveries receiving street hail rights, announced his intention to bring taxi service to residents outside Manhattan last January.
“It is a huge victory for all New Yorkers who have ever sought to hail a cab outside of Manhattan and in northern Manhattan,” the mayor said.
The bill, which passed the legislature in June, stalled over Cuomo’s concerns on the number of wheelchair accessible cabs in the plan.
“The bill as originally passed failed to address the needs of individuals with disabilities and did not provide any incentive for the livery industry to ensure disabled New Yorkers had full access to the taxicab system,” the governor said.
Negotiations held Tuesday assured Cuomo the number of wheelchair accessible vehicles would significantly increase. Medallions will only be issued to accessible cars and at least 20 percent of liveries that receive street hail licenses must be fitted for wheelchairs.
“I think it’s fair to say the long quest for five borough taxi service will soon be a reality, and it will positively impact our city’s quality of life for decades to come,” the mayor said.