Well that was quick:
Mr. Bloomberg made the so-called “five-borough taxi plan” a centerpiece of his State of the City address in January. The proposal called for creating a new class of livery cabs, with meters and, perhaps, a single color, that would be allowed to pick up passengers on the street outside of Manhattan who hadn’t arranged a ride ahead of time. Currently, such pickups are illegal but widespread. Only yellow taxis—whose numbers are limited to the 13,237 medallions in circulation—can pick up passengers who hail them.
But now talks between the Taxi and Limousine Commission and the taxi industry are focusing on a series of plans that would use yellow cabs—not livery cars—to expand taxi service outside of Manhattan.
“I believe we are completely off the mayor’s original plan,” said one person familiar with the talks. “I would go as far as calling it dead.”
As it stands now, the vast, vast majority of yellow cab pick-ups are in Manhattan or at airports, and it’s pretty much impossible to get a cab in Brooklyn, Queens, or the Bronx to take you anywhere but Manhattan. The silver lining is that the number of medallions might be increased, but it’s not clear by how much.
I’d also like to point out that this is yet another transit failure for the Bloomberg administration, which only seems to be willing to go to the mat for bike lanes in wealthy, white neighborhoods. (To say nothing of transit advocates – I could be wrong, but I don’t think Streetsblog ever found time amidst its daily barrage of bike agitprop to come out in favor of outer borough taxi deregulation.) The private van plan was poorly thought-out and from what I can tell has been forgotten, the physically separated 34th St. Transitway was defeated, and who knows if anyone other than me and Cap’n Transit even realizes that dollar vans exist.
But oh well. At least the transit-starved residents of the outer boroughs can ride the PPW bike lane to their hearts’ content…if they ever manage to get there.