"The mayor-elect says he’s not in favor of it," said Bloomberg today, during his regular Friday morning appearance on the John Gambling radio show. "I think once Bill looks at it, he’ll understand this is a great thing and people in the other four-and-a-half boroughs deserve service."
This year, following months of litigation, a new fleet of green outer-borough taxis began rolling down city streets.
Unlike yellow taxis, which can technically pick up street hails anywhere in the city but in practice tend to focus on Manhattan and the airports, borough cabs are expressly designed to serve only the outer boroughs and Manhattan north of 96th Street.
The theory behind the program is that since livery car drivers (which are only supposed to provide pre-arranged service) were already illegally providing street hails in the outer boroughs, why not let them paint their cars green, outfit them with taxi meters and credit card machines and fill that gap in the city's taxi coverage for real?
Yellow-taxi medallion owners counter that the program undermines their street-hail exclusivity and they have fought the battle ferociously in court. The industry, as it happens, gave more than $350,000 to mayor-elect Bill de Blasio's campaign.
De Blasio's rhetoric on taxis has been distinctly anti-Bloomberg, and in line with the desires of the medallion owners.
He has promised to fire taxi commissioner David Yassky and he has spoken opaquely about how the borough taxi program needs fixing.
He hasn't elaborated much.
De Blasio's intentions matter, because though 6,000 borough cabs have already gotten permits, most of the permits would have to be awarded under the new administration. (The law allows the city to issue another 6,000 permits next year, and another 6,000 the year after.)
De Blasio's campaign had no immediate comment.
Bloomberg has been touting the program's benefits right and left in recent weeks, in an effort to build public support and make it that much harder for the next mayor to roll it back.
"Those cab drivers now, all of sudden, don’t have to look over their shoulder or break the law when you hail them, because that’s the way they make their money," Bloomberg told Gambling this morning. "And they are all reporting that they are making a lot more money and the public loves these things.”
[Capital New York Report]