Mayors “Five Boro Taxi” Plan Concerns Legislators
May 24, 2011
By Neal Tepel
Although a formal plan has not been presented to the City Council, there are concerns by several legislators about the Mayors Five Boro Taxi” Plan. The adding of 6,000 medallions operating primarily in the outer boroughs is an issue for some legislators since the present cost of a medallion is approximately $700,000, and will be out of reach for almost all livery taxi drivers.
NYC Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez, NYS Senator Adriano Espaillat, NYS Assembly Member Guillermo Linares, Council Member Melissa Mark Viverito, and Council Member Julissa Ferraras met on Sunday May 22nd with dozens of livery taxi drivers regarding the Taxi and Limousine Commission’s proposal. There was general agreement by the legislators that medallions should be made affordable enough through financing packages so people working in the livery taxi industry today can realistically purchase them.
"For years, you would never be able to find a yellow taxi in Northern Manhattan and the outer boroughs, but all of us still had to get around somehow; the livery cab industry developed to take care of that need. These drivers and base owners have served our community faithfully for decades, but the possible plans that have been mentioned through the media put this industry at risk. If the city wants to focus on providing taxi access to people outside of the lower half of Manhattan, it has to be done with the livery drivers in mind. This means making the medallions truly affordable for the people that work hard in our neighborhoods every day, and a system making sure the livery industry isn't left out" said NYC Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez.
"In Queens you can often see yellow taxis near Citi Field, the US Open, and the airports, and that is the only place you will find them. The truth is that yellow taxis are refusing to serve our communities and it has been the livery taxi industry that has filled that gap. The men and women who work as livery drivers are the face of minority and women owned small businesses. All residents of NYC should have the same rights as those that live in Downtown Manhattan, and should be able to legally hail a cab in their neighborhoods. The livery cabs have been providing this service and we want them to continue to do so" said Council Member Julissa Ferreras.
“The yellow taxi industry has done very little to provide service to our communities and so we will not turn our backs on the livery drivers who have served us for years. We have to stand up for what is right, and we have to stand up for what is just. The administration is trying to steamroll the livery industry with this plan, when they should be taking the time necessary to consult with the individuals whose lives will be affected: the livery drivers and owners" said Council Member Melissa Mark Viverito.
These legislators were concerned that the Mayors proposal will diminish taxi service to the outer boroughs. They have requested that any plan must ensure that New Yorkers not living in Manhattan continue to have access to safe, affordable, and reliable transportation.