Mayor Bloomberg and Taxi and Limousine Commissioner David Yassky today joined with livery drivers and legislative leaders to celebrate the historic agreement to bring legal taxi service to the 7 million New Yorkers who live outside Manhattan’s Central Business District. First announced in January in Mayor Bloomberg’s State of the City speech, the bill will create a new class of livery licenses, which will be able to pick up passengers on the street in Northern Manhattan and outside Manhattan.
The Taxi and Limousine Commission will issue up to 18,000 of these new licenses, 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. Mayor Bloomberg made the announcement at Seamen Car Service in Washington Heights and was also joined by Assembly Member Carl Heastie, Assembly Member Karim Camara, Assembly Member Guillermo Linares, Assembly Member Felix Ortiz, Council Member Robert Jackson, Council Member Fernando Cabrera, Livery Base Owners Coalition spokeswoman Cira Angeles and Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities Acting Commissioner Jason Mischel.
“For the past year, we have been advocating for change that has eluded the City for three decades,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “Now that we have achieved this historic agreement, millions of New Yorkers who have never been able to get a cab in their neighborhoods will have access to safer and less costly taxi service; thousands of hard-working livery drivers – many of them immigrants – will be able to come out of the shadows and into the legal economy; and the City will receive a much-needed billion dollars in revenue.”
“Government can achieve great things when there’s a clear vision and the will to see it through,” said Taxi and Limousine Commissioner David Yassky. “This plan 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. There’s something for everyone.”
“The new agreement improves upon the original proposal which provided car service to the outer boroughs by ensuring transportation access to the disabled as well,” said Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. “Importantly, the bill will bring significant revenue to New York City without raising taxes, which will preserve vital services. I am glad that we were able to resolve the issue and I congratulate the Governor, Mayor Bloomberg, and my colleagues in the Assembly for their hard work in accomplishing a win-win result.”
“This bill continues the legacy of MOPD Commissioner Matt Sapolin, who was a tireless warrior for the inclusiveness of all in everything New York City has to offer, including the accessibility of city transportation, right up until his untimely passing a few weeks ago,” said Jason Mischel, Deputy Commissioner/General Counsel of the Mayor's Office for People With Disabilities. “I look forward to continuing Matt's fight by working closely with our partners at TLC, as well as advocates for the disabled and the taxi and livery industries to ensure that a long term disability plan is put into place that will benefit all residents of, and visitors to, our great city.”
“I want to congratulate all of my colleagues in government, particularly Governor Andrew Cuomo, Speaker Sheldon Silver, Majority Leader Dean Skelos, and Senator Marty Golden for the passage of this bill which will improve and increase taxi service in underserved areas,” said Assembly Member Heastie. “In doing so, we are legitimizing a service that has been in the shadows for decades and injecting $1 billion in revenue to our city, at no cost to the taxpayers. Let me give kudos as well to Mayor Bloomberg for initiating this legislation, acknowledging the need and showing leadership. For all those that decry Albany and our process, the passage of this legislation illustrates our openness, our ability to address the diverse needs of our constituents and further dispels the notion that we are a dysfunctional body. I am proud that after hours, days and months of deliberation, we were able to reach an agreement that benefits the industry, its workers and most importantly, the people of New York.”
“I want to congratulate all of my colleagues in government, particularly Governor Andrew Cuomo, Speaker Sheldon Silver, Majority Leader Dean Skelos, and Senator Marty Golden for the passage of this bill which will improve and increase taxi service in underserved areas,” said Assembly Member Heastie. “And, I want to especially thank Mayor Michael Bloomberg for initiating this legislation, acknowledging the need and showing great leadership.”
“This taxi legislation gives New Yorkers a chance to see their leadership at work. I applaud all the key players in this recent deal, including Mayor Bloomberg for his vision and persistence,” said Assembly Member Camara. “New Yorkers will now have more transportation options and the potential for significant small business and job creation. It’s a win-win situation for everyone.”
“In this holiday season there isn’t a better present for the men and women in the livery industry than this historic agreement to make legal what has been the practice in our communities for the past four decades,” said Assembly Member Linares. “Now, New Yorkers in my district and in minority and working class communities outside of Downtown Manhattan will have access to reliable, accessible transportation services from an industry that I was part of when I first came to New York City. I applaud Governor Cuomo, Mayor Bloomberg, my Speaker, Sheldon Silver, Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, my colleague Assemblyman Carl Heastie and the many legislators in the Assembly and the Senate for supporting the livery industry which is a major source of jobs and economic activity in our communities.”
“As Chair of the Assembly Mental Health Committee and Chair of the Puerto Rican/Hispanic Task Force, I strongly support the Governor's decision to sign into law the livery cab bill. This piece of legislation will not only provide jobs to livery cab, it will end the lack of access to livery cabs by those living and working in the outer Boroughs. Most importantly, it will improve access to transportation for wheelchair bound people and those living with disabilities,” said Assembly Member Ortiz.
“This is a huge victory for the city and especially the over 6 million residents of the outer boroughs as this legislation will now address their needs and demands for accessible livery cab services. The legislation will also generate $ 1 billion in revenue through the sale of 1,500 yellow taxi medallions. The Caucus has been a leader in championing this issue for our communities and I am proud to stand by my colleagues as this historic legislation is signed into law. My heartfelt thanks to Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the advocates that have played a vital role in making this happen. Congratulations to all New Yorkers,” said Council Member Jackson, Co-Chair of the Black, Latino and Asian Caucus.
“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. We stand shoulder to shoulder with the drivers and will continue to work for transportation solutions that help both the driver and the customer.”
“Today is a great day for Upper Manhattan and outer borough residents,” said Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito. “Finally, our communities will have access to the same safe, dependable street hail service that residents of the Central Business District have, and the drivers and bases that have served our neighborhoods for decades can provide this service legally. I congratulate Mayor Bloomberg, Commissioner Yassky and all of the livery bases and drivers who have advocated so strongly for the passage of this legislation. I also thank Governor Cuomo for arriving at a fair resolution on this bill.”
“The passage of this historic bill will allow thousands of livery drivers and base owners, hardworking minority and immigrant workers who are part of the economic backbone of our communities, to support their families by legally doing what they have been doing for over 40 years: picking up hails and responding to pre-arranged calls,” said Cira Angeles, Spokesperson Livery Base Owners, Inc. “This legislation will allow our industry to continue to provide vital transportation to residents outside Downtown Manhattan and to disabled New Yorkers while raising much needed revenue for our city to maintain critical social services.”