A controversial new vehicle traffic law currently being considered by the state legislature is generating headlines throughout New York City, and has even resulted in hundreds of taxi drivers taking to the streets in open protest.
The new vehicle traffic law would allow livery cabs - the limousine-like taxis that are booked via telephone - to make street pickups in the outer boroughs of New York City (Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, Staten Island) and Upper Manhattan. (Currently, livery cabs are strictly prohibited from making street pickups).
The legislative measure - which has gained the support of Mayor Michael Bloomberg, multiple city officials, and even some taxi advocacy groups - would enable the Taxi & Limousine Commission to issue 30,000 street pickup permits to livery cab owners/operators at a cost of $1,500 each (valid for three years).
Proponents of the measure argue that the measure will make it far easier for city residents outside of central Manhattan to arrange transportation.
"We are a city of five boroughs, and it's long past time that we have equitable taxi service in all five boroughs," said Taxi & Limousine Commissioner David Yassky.
However, the measure is encountering strong opposition from many of New York City's yellow taxi cab drivers who are worried that the sudden influx of street pickup permits to livery cabs will put them out of business.
"The city wants to add 30,000 livery cabs in the outer boroughs," said Robert Carniol, one of the hundreds of taxi drivers who gathered at City Hall yesterday to protest. "What do you think that will do to 13,000 yellow cabs?"
Another concern for many of the city's nearly 13,000 taxi drivers is that they have spent considerable sums - between $650,000 and $800,000 - to secure street medallions granting them exclusive rights to perform street pickups.
They now worry that the influx of livery cabs will cause the value of these street medallions to plummet, perhaps resulting in many drivers owing more than the medallion is actually worth.
It is worth noting that the proposed legislation would also authorize the Commission to sell an additional 1,500 street medallions, a third of which would be issued to handicapped accessible yellow cabs.
Stay tuned for developments from our New York traffic law blog ...
A ticket for violating a vehicle traffic law can result in serious consequences, including fines, points against your license, increased insurance rates, license suspension/revocation or even jail time. Accordingly, if you or a loved one has received a citation, don't just dismiss it.
Instead, consider contacting an attorney who understands New York's confusing legal system, and who can help you evaluate your options and make the right decisions.
This post was provided for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice.
NYC cabbies protest livery proposal at City Hall (The Wall Street Journal)