Hail to the cab; taxi service reaches outer boroughs

Flickr photo by Bob Tazar

Those of us cursing the day God created New York because we couldn’t get a cab when we needed one, this news is sure timely for the holidays: Street hails are now legal.

It used to be that if you are living in Upper Manhattan or the outer boroughs you had to call a livery to pick you up. Fine if you’re a resident. But if you’re a tourist visiting Queens or a businessman attending a conference in the Bronx, would you even know where to get help?

City Hall recently passed a law making it legal for the 7 million New Yorkers who live outside Manhattan to hail a passing cab. Flagging a cab is being done even without the new law, but the driver is likely to charge higher with a warning to the passenger that what they’re doing is illegal. Or the driver will simply not stop for you and you’re left to wonder, What the f…? Why does it look too easy for Carrie Bradshaw? Because she’s in Manhattan, where the rules are different.

A press statement says the Taxi and Limousine Commission will issue up to 18,000 of new licenses for cabs, 20 percent of which will be wheelchair accessible. The agreement will also generate a billion dollars in revenue for the City through the sale of 2,000 new yellow medallions, all of which will be wheelchair accessible.

Taxi and Limousine Commissioner David Yassky said the law will provide “quality taxi service to borough residents who never enjoyed it before, it represents new transportation options for persons with disabilities, and it will generate jobs.”

“The taxi cab industry is a New York icon,” said Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez. “Now, it will be stronger and more equitable for thousands of drivers who rely on it to make a living.”



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