"This shows you how many people on Staten Island are interested in these green cabs," said Artie Grover, president of the NYC Fleet Livery Owners Association and owner of Mid Island Car Service, who has been critical of the new law. "There's no interest."
The Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) is selling 6,000 new "street hail livery permits" to drivers who wish to pick up street hails out side of Lower Manhattan for a cost of $1,500 the first year, $3,000 the second and $4,500 the third year. Then those drivers must also be associated with a base, which much be "endorsed."
Livery operators must purchase a $3,000 "base endorsement" -- good for three years -- and pay to add taxi equipment like meters, roof lights, a divider, a GPS tracking system and of course an apple green paint job. Following a successful inspection, they can begin to pick up street hails.
The green cabs can are not allowed to pick up customers in Lower Manhattan south of West 110 Street and East 96 Street -- that's the domain of yellow cabs -- but fares can be dropped off there. The northern part of Manhattan and all four boroughs are fair game also, but LaGuardia and JFK airports are a bit of a gray area.
Prearranged livery trips to the city's airports are fine, as well as dropping off a street hail from the outer boroughs. The liveries cannot pick up customers at the airports because that's yellow cab territory, but if a potential customer sees a long line waiting for yellow cabs they can use a cell phone app to "prearrange" a pick up right there, confirmed Justine Johnson a TLC representative at the meeting.
"How does the TLC expect to start a new category of vehicle when they're still working out the kinks and they're trying to start the process?" said James Grosso, Jr. of Mid Island Car Service, who is secretary of the NYC Fleet Livery Owners Association. "It's like going to a class where there is no curriculum."
Street hails in the outer boroughs will be tracked similarly to yellow cab trips, which means the meter will be running whether you are traveling or stuck in traffic on the Staten Island Expressway, a concern Grosso raised since prearranged customers currently pay a flat fee.
"If somebody is on the meter, that $10 call could go upwards of $14, $15 maybe even more," said Grosso, who was also concerned that there are insufficient controls in place from preventing drivers from just turning off the meters to negotiate their own price. "Lack of enforcement put us in this position, and I think lack of enforcement is going to make this situation worse with these cabs."