Transportation Policy

Bloomberg Tries to Legalize Taxis for Poor People

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You know those creepy black cars that sidle up to you late at night on the streets of New York City, tempting you with illicit rides? (Of course you don't—it tends to happen more to girls.) In light of the serious cab shortage in the outer boroughs, Mayor Michael Bloomberg (I) wants to legalize street pick-ups for livery cars, perhaps making it a little easier for a black man to catch a cab in New York:

Livery cabs outside Manhattan could soon be allowed to pick up passengers who hail them from the curb under a proposal that Mayor Bloomberg included in State of the City address Wednesday.

Longtime livery cab driver Hipolito Sime, now a manager at Evelyn Car Service in Brooklyn, said the change would be a big help for residents of underserved neighborhoods in his borough.

"Bed-Stuy, East Flatbush, East New York, Sunset Park. Where you see a big group of minorities, that's where you're most likely to see the car service, and the yellow cab's not going to go there," he said.

Predictably, the hack union objects even though the proposed reform is relatively tepid—taxified livery cars would still have to charge the regulated rate, and this liberalization will not apply to the fertile Manhattan taxi market. New York City's cab service is notoriously regulated, and Bloomberg's choice of his 10th State of the City address to announce the proposal shows that he realizes how much of a challenge getting the support of the City Council will be.

On the upside, the power of the taxi lobby is a good sign for the American melting pot: It shows that no (cab-driving) immigrant is too recent to this country to feel entitled to government privileges at the expense of their fellow Americans.

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  1. Hipolito Sime

    Escapee from Harry Potterverse. Has anyone called Thursday Next yet?

  2. 300 million people do not live in NYC. Discuss.

    1. I sense pedantry. Make that “300 million Americans do not live in NYC.

      Discuss, discuss!

        1. Actually it is because all the bed bugs in florida are retired bed bugs from NY and their immune systmes are compromised.

      1. 300 million Americans do not want to live in NYC.

      2. More pedantry: 300 million U.S. residents don’t live in NYC.

  3. Hey! There’s a girl here… Somewhere…

  4. The funny thing is that you could always pick up livery cars if they had no fare at the moment and they were looking for extra cash; they just kept their eyes out for the cops. They’re especially willing to pick up people when all yellow cabs are monopolized (like during rush hour, or a downpour).

    But legalizing it would be a good step.

    1. Yeah, I was going to post that if you’re in Brooklyn or Queens (I know Episiarch, a horrible thought to you) you can still negotiate a ride from them.

      Well I can, because I’m only as dark a light hispanic. I don’t know how it works for darker fellows.

      1. Ska is The Situation?!?

  5. You know those creepy black cars that sidle up to you late at night on the streets of New York City, tempting you with illicit rides? (Of course you don’t?it tends to happen more to girls.)

    1) Happens more to people who are dressed somewhat respectably
    2) Happens more when you’re trying to hail a cab and they’re all taken (these cars don’t just pull up to random pedestrians)

    taxified livery cars would still have to charge the regulated rate

    Ha – Paaleeeeezzzzz

    and this liberalization will not apply to the fertile Manhattan taxi market.

    Thanks for wasting our time, Stephen J. Smith.

    1. Thanks for wasting our time, Stephen J. Smith.

      No need to thank me, ma’am ? it’s my job.

      1. You know your intern predecessors didn’t post comments so often.

    2. Is being pwned by Steve Smith known as getting rped?

    3. I was in midtown for a few days last month, and on the corner of 6th and W. 35th, on a Friday night during rush hour, nothing but those black sedans would pull up. That’s all that was available. And check, we were dressed for dinner and the opera, and check, also trying futilely to hail cabs.

      So I’d have to say Bloomberg’s ban is pretty, um, not effective already.

      We ended up going for white-knuckle thrills by taking a pedi-cab. Now there’s an immigrant who knew how to hustle his little non-union ass.

  6. You know those creepy black cars that sidle up to you late at night on the streets of New York City, tempting you with illicit rides? (Of course you don’t?it tends to happen more to girls.)

    Did Steve Smith just make a rape joke?

    1. STEVE SMITH NOT JOKE ABOUT RAPE! RAPE SERIOUS BUSINESS! WHY WON’T YOU TAKE STEVE SERIAL?

      1. Rape is not a laughing matter, unless you’re raping a clown.

        BTW anyone else seen the movie Vulgar?

  7. I took a gypsy cab from JFK to Hoboken about 10 years ago. Cost $40. Dude was quick, courteous, had a spacious Lincoln Town Car. I hate yellows…besides, the thrill of brekin the law in Gypsy cab is worth the risk.

  8. Only Michael Bloomberg would think he could stop an innate behavioral response by an organism to a directional stimulus or gradient of stimulus intensity, by banning it, to begin with.

  9. Well, good for Bloomberg. Giuiliani also tried to do well in this area, actually vetoing– but being overridden on– a bill to ban “dollar van” services that also let minorities ride.

  10. The best part is the monopoly trying to prevent a service they have no interest whatsoever in providing.

    1. Yeah, but they’re afraid that if the gypsy cabs do it and prove it’s workable, and people get used to it, it’ll be hard to prevent it from expanding. Think of it as the camel’s nose getting in the regulatory tent.

      Seriously, anybody who has not lived in NYC and read about the yellow cab system does not understand just how anti-competitive it is. In practice, it’s mitigated a lot by car services, but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s still messed up.

      1. so in case I ever go again to NYC, black cars are the equivalent to taxis? You hail them like a regular taxi?
        they’re cheaper?

        And is there a better example of the problems of regulation? Less service/higer prices Less service/higher prices
        Less service/higher prices!!!

        But think of how many people have not had their kidneys stolen during illicit cab rides!!!

  11. 20 comments, and only one STEVE SMITH reference? For shame, Reason commentariat, for shame.

  12. “Of course you don’t?it tends to happen more to girls.”

    And there couldn’t possibly be any of those here, right?

  13. I’m a London cabbie and we have quite a big problem with livery cabbies picking up street hails. If this goes through it will only hurt the industry even more. In London livery cabs already pick up street hails if they allowed it here it would turn into a complete free for all, a total mess.

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