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Taxi Workers Alliance Fails to Block Driver Permit Hike in Regulatory Battle

Coalition of Cab Drivers Files Lawsuit Against City's Proposal to Re-Release Unused 'Green Taxi' Licenses

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The TLC program focuses on reissuing 2,500 “green taxi”

HI INDIA NEWS DESK
NEW YORK, NY- The Taxi & Limousine Commission plans to re-issue up to 2,500 unused livery driver permits in Upper Manhattan and the boroughs.

A Manhattan Supreme Court judge ruled against the New York Taxi Workers Alliance on Thursday, which had sued the city last year to stop the TLC from implementing a pilot program. The program aimed to introduce additional for-hire vehicles (FHVs) without increasing demand, as the Alliance argued.

Justice Nicholas Moyne sided with the city, suggesting that the impact of the two-year test drive would likely be minimal. Moyne noted that the increase under the pilot program, bringing the number of licensed vehicles to 109,051, would only represent a 2.34% increase from the existing 106,551 FHVs in the city.

The TLC program focuses on reissuing 2,500 “green taxi” licenses, waiving costly requirements such as specific paint jobs, meters, markings, and rooftop lights. Pre-arranged trips must be booked through livery bases rather than hailed on the street. Approximately 700 participating vehicles are currently on the road, according to the TLC.

TLC Commissioner David Do expressed satisfaction with the ruling, stating that the pilot program aimed to reduce upfront costs for green cab licensees and improve outer-borough service, particularly for non-emergency medical trips. He emphasized the importance of pilot programs in testing ideas based on data and stakeholder feedback.

However, Jose Altamirano, president of the Livery Base Owners association, believes the number of licenses should be increased further to support for-hire vehicle drivers and businesses, especially in the outer boroughs.

The program targets areas historically underserved by yellow taxis, including parts of Brooklyn, The Bronx, Queens, Staten Island, and Upper Manhattan.

The New York Taxi Workers Alliance plans to appeal the decision, arguing that the TLC has allowed too many vehicles into the market, resulting in decreased earnings for drivers.

TLC data indicates a steady increase in FHV trips since April 2020, with 83,778 high-volume FHVs and 13,325 other types of for-hire vehicles in service as of January. Green taxis accounted for just 797 vehicles, significantly fewer than the 7,513 in May 2015 at their peak.

 

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