Southern Brooklyn

Livery Cab Street Hail Plan Blocked

Livery cab lawsuit NYC
Source: Omnibus, Uris via Wikimedia Commons

New York State Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron put the brakes on city’s plan to create a new class of taxis to serve neighborhoods in Brooklyn, northern Manhattan and other areas.

The judge issued a temporary restraining order blocking Mayor Bloomberg from implementing the city’s Outer Borough Livery Street Hail and Taxi Medallion Plan, otherwise known as the HAIL Law, which was put into effect on June 1.

If enacted, the law would allow 18,000 livery cabs to pick up street-hail passengers outside central Manhattan and bring in about $1 billion to the city’s budget.

The lawsuit was brought on by the Metropolitan Taxicab Board of Trade.

“Obviously, anything that affects New York City affects the state in which it is situated, and just as obviously non-New York City residents can (and do, in droves) spend time in New York City.  But, generally speaking, these facts cannot satisfy the Home Rule requirements or nothing would be left of the rule but the exceptions, ” wrote Justice Engoron in his ruling.

Engoron, who was a cab driver during his college days, went on to state that, “This Court has trouble seeing how the provision of taxi service in New York City is a matter of that can be wrenched from the hands of City government, where it has resided for some 75 years and handed over to the State.”

The MTBOT group issued a statement on the Justice’s decision:

“By preventing the Taxi and Limousine Commission from issuing any outer borough street hail permits, the Court has prevented a trampling of the New York State Constitution as well as an economic disaster for more than 5,000 individual taxi driver-owners and thousands more taxi owners and cabbies who invested their life savings into what they regarded as the American Dream – the taxi medallion.

We applaud the Court’s decision and our colleagues in the yellow taxi industry who have also brought suits– and we especially acknowledge the brave and principled Council Member Lewis Fidler and Public Advocate Bill de Blasio who stood for good government where TLC Chairman David Yassky and the City of New York did not.”

TLC Commissioner David Yassky said the decision was “unfortunate,” according to Transportation Nation.

“We share the disappointment of the 80 percent of New Yorkers who live and work outside Manhattan and are waiting for safe, legal and reliable taxi service as well as the thousands of livery drivers who stand ready to provide that service,” Yassky said.

The city even designated a color for the new street hails, “Apple Green,” but it looks like those taxis won’t be hitting the streets anytime soon.

Comment policy


  1. Can someone educate me on how livery cabs picking up street hails is against NYs constitution?

  2. Oh good. Now the mayor will find something else to ban or create to punish and torture us with for blocking his will.

  3. At first I was for this new type of cab. After hearing all the reasoning back and forth, I am now just confused. I think Yassky does have good intentions, but the real reason this is being proposed, is only because of the money it would bring in to the City, not to help anybody. When Bloomberg was asked about the judge’s decision, his reaction said nothing about solving a longstanding problem, that this would have provided a metered cab for the outer boroughs because yellow cabs refuse to come here. His only response was that the City was counting on this added money and now we won’t have it.

  4. I don’t get what the hub bub is all about?  Yellow cabs don’t want to or even LIKE driving into Brooklyn so why are they balking at letting Livery cabs be hailed by us outer Boro people?  seems strange to me.  I would understand IF this was going to eat into Yellow cab outer boro Biz but they don’t want our Biz so why oppose this?

  5. Because the state, not the city, decided on this matter. This should have been taken up by our City Council, not by the State Legislature. It’s called Home Rule, and we have fought fiercely and often over the years to protect that right from usurpation by the state. By process of law, what you don’t defend you lose. I’m sure you would not like upstaters making all sorts of decisions about city planning, policy and expenditures. That could be the long term result if intrusions like this one are not challenged.

  6. In plain English if the city would have made the decisions then it would go against NYs constitution?

  7. Maybe, just maybe the same people who own yellow cabs own some Brooklyn based car services.??

  8. Its 18,000 street hail vehicle within the next 3 years. 6000 a year , I believe 20% of the 18,000 have to be wheelchair accessible.

  9.  Its a moot point since we all know people hail livery cabs and the livery cabs cruise bus  and subways stops

  10. This plan is a revenue raiser for the City and has little to do with improving transportation options. Watch as the City’s budget director cries how this block will blow a $1 billion hole in the upcoming budget. As for Yasskey, he was been a tepid TLC commissioner who got his job as a consolation prize for losing the Comptrollers election last time. but remember David, nobody likes the smartest kid in the class.

  11. Bloomberg already made that statement about the $1 billion hole. He said nothing about anyone losing out. Now he will claim because of at decision he will have to raise real estate taxes, water rates, and meter rates again. If he controlled tolls on the East River bridges they would go up to.

  12. sometimes I wish Brooklyn would just secede from NYC and become its own City again (like we used to be) and then we could have things like our own yellow cabs

  13. some car service and yellow cabs are againts it. 99% of the people are for it.
    Who wins?  


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