Contrary to popular belief, there are people that live outside of Manhattan. The hustle and bustle of New York City is not limited to one island; actually, almost 80 percent of New Yorkers live in the outer boroughs (probably because they cannot afford its real estate horrors).
And, if taxi cabs follow the people who use them, that should mean that 80 percent of those yellow autos should be leaving Manhattan, right? Wrong.
A Supreme Court justice ruled against Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s plan to expand street-hail service to Northern Manhattan and the rest of the metropolis, issuing what is called a plaintiff request to temporarily enjoin the proposal. In other words, without a final ruling issued yet, Bloomberg’s ambitions have been put on hold for the time being.
However, the temporary restraining order from the Court precludes a part of the “livery cab” plan that would auction off 2,000 of those lucky cab medallions, worth millions of dollars in city revenues. The only thing being restrained now is the fleet’s new additions in the form of Boro Taxi permits. The outer borough-ers will just have to wait.
However, the Court did not make this temporary decision solely on its tangible proposals; the ruling came to question how Bloomberg went about getting the plan passed in the first place. Looks like he didn’t exactly play by the legislative rules.
There is a tiny loophole in the city-state politk. If you cannot get a proposal passed in the City Council of New York, you can circumvent their authority and take your case to Albany, where the state government decides the fate of the City miles south of them. It’s called the ‘home rule provision’ and that’s exactly what Bloomberg used.
When he took this “livery cab” plan to the Council last year, it was blasted for being fiscally irresponsible, since the Mayor was banking on selling those expensive medallions to plug up a nearly $1 billion budgetary hole. Once they declined to hear him out, Bloomberg took his business to Governor Cuomo, who convinced lawmakers to pass the measure in December.
Albeit technically unconstitutional, the Metropolitan Taxicab Board of Trade and the Taxicab Service Association took Bloomberg to court, arguing that his use of that loophole was illegal. And they won. The Justice, Arthur Engoron, wrote:
“This court has trouble seeing how the provision of taxi service in New York City is a matter that can be wrenched from the hands of city government, where it has resided for some 75 years, and handed over to the state.”
Bloomberg and his officials are not taking kindly to the decision; the Hozziner straight up called it “stupid” and argued that the home rule provision holds “contempt for the public.” The office of Michael Cordozo, the City’s Corporation counsel, is now seeking appellate options so not all hope is lost for those waiting for a taxi to pick them up on Broadway in Queens at 3 in the morning.