Judge Puts Temporary Hold On NYC’s Outer Borough Taxi Plan

In a decision that could leave New York City with a $1.46 billion hole in its budget, a judge has nixed a plan to expand taxi service outside Manhattan

Manhattan state Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron issued his ruling Friday. He put the plan temporarily on hold in June, after owners of the city’s signature yellow taxi fleets sued.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the plan would make travel safer, easier and cheaper for millions of people, and make the city more than $1 billion. Yellow cab owners said it would cut their business.

The plan would let the city sell 18,000 permits and allow livery cabs to pick up passengers who hail them on streets in upper Manhattan and the other four boroughs. Currently, only yellow cabs are permitted to do that.
Taxi and Limousine Commission head David Yassky called the ruling “disappointing,” adding “we will appeal right away,” in a message posted on Twitter.

Yassky said yellow taxi owners can’t argue that medallion values would drop because they didn’t after the outer-borough plan was approved.

“Obviously the marketplace doesn’t think that allowing a borough taxi to pick up in Brooklyn, Queens or Bronx hurts yellows at all,” Yassky said.

Fernando Mateo, spokesman for the NYS Federation of Taxi Drivers, said the decision brings relief to medallion owners and livery cabs. They are currently working the outer boroughs and don’t want to risk street hails without added security measures, he said.

“The ruling that this judge made will save two industries in jeopardy of being destroyed,” Mateo said, adding the city needed to find a better way to bring taxi service to those who need it.

Bhairavi Desai, of the New York Taxi Workers Alliance, also expressed concern and cautioned against any new proposal that could potentially “throw drivers under the bus and pit taxi and livery drivers and riders against each other.”

Meanwhile, Michael Cardozo, of the New York City Law Department, said “We are deeply disappointed by the Court’s decision, and will be filing an immediate appeal. We are confident that the appellate court will uphold the state law.”


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