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Livery Cab Plan Meets Opposition From Yellow Taxi Drivers

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) -- Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Tuesday he wants to make sure all New York City residents can hail a cab. So he is proposing allowing some livery cabs to accept street hails in the outer boroughs.

Bloomberg said residents in Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx and Staten Island should be able to hail a legal cab just like they can in Manhattan.

Al Jones of 1010 WINS spoke with livery and yellow cab drivers, who came down on opposite sides of the issue.


1010 WINS Reporter Al Jones talks with drivers who might be affected by the livery cab changes.

"I think it [will] help us and we can make more extra money," one livery cab driver said.

"I think it's a great idea for the people [for] rush's a good idea," another driver told Jones.

While livery cabs picking up street hails currently occurs, it is technically illegal.  CBS 2's Lou Young spoke with one resident in Queens, who said he has seen drivers pick up passengers that way "every so often."

"They'll beep their horn and if you're interested in catching a cab, they'll tell you 'where do want to go' and then they give you a price," Middle Village resident Vincent Vinza said.

Some yellow cab drivers were not too happy about the possibility of the restriction being overturned.

Cabbie Whitey George said the move would only take more money out of his pocket.

"A lot of people are still out of work and we are not making...the same amount of money that we used to make," George said.

Bhairavi Desai, of the advocacy group New York Taxi Workers Alliance, said yellow-cab drivers will lose income.

"We're blown away by this," Desai told Young, "once they're in Manhattan, what guarantee do we have that the street hails are not going to continue."

Cabbies also argued that the mayor was devaluing the taxi medallion, which can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

"We spend a lot of money on them...over $600,000. What's the difference between the livery and the yellow cab," he said.

"If we leave the yellow cab, then we can drive a gypsy. It's better for us. Why we pay $700 a week," another cabbie asked.

The proposal will be included in the mayor's State of the City speech Wednesday. It would require participating livery cabs to install meters and credit card readers.

(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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