The mayoral battle to “legalize street hails” for livery cabs in the boroughs, and to increase by 2,000 the number of yellow cabs (generally in Manhattan), has been lost in the courts.
From a temporary restraining order, the judge on the case has moved to outright and final rejection of the plan, on constitutional grounds. (The plan was clearly unconstitutional, and only mayoral egomania could have thought otherwise.)
But before a chorus of, “They’re getting in the way of another great idea from this great mayor,” rises up, I’d like to point out that the plan, in my opinion, was a fraud from the start.
If it had gone through as conceived, this plan would have allowed the city to start collecting sizeable amounts of revenue from the livery industry, starting now, and, almost certainly, increasing in amount as time went on. It is my perception that this was the only consideration at work in the creation and promulgation of this plan.
Forget sympathy for the outer borough folks who have to stand in the rain while the bad Manhattan cabby passes them by. There are livery cabs galore in the boroughs, and — I can attest to this, having driven for a livery cab company — these livery cabs pick up people off the street all the time. (If they are ever reluctant to, it is because some inspector with a ticket quota mandated from a cash-hungry city hall is waiting to protect his or her job by passing the grief along to someone lower down the pecking order.)
Is there even a need to “legalize” street hails in the outer boroughs?
Of course not!
Every day thousands of car owners in New York move their cars from one side of the street to the other, where they (illegally) double park — all in order to allow street sweepers to sweep the side of their streets designated for cleaning. While this is illegal, the police, acting on their own discretion, chose never to enforce this law, and, so long as the driver stays in his or her car, no tickets are given.
It could be the same with “illegal” livery pickups in the boroughs, couldn’t it?
Of course it could. Just allow them, by discretion of the police force.
Let our beloved mayor call his police commissioner, Ray Kelly, and tell him to let those liveries pick up those wet passengers …
In less than 24 hours : the problem’s solved.
And no one has to be defrauded into thinking that legislation is needed to “bring taxi service to the outer boroughs.”
That would be especially pleasing when the legislation is a red herring for the city to get into the pockets of the livery industry, and make them pay for the reluctance of the mayor to raise his own and his friends’ taxes.
So, hooray for the judge. And boo! for Bloomberg.