You’re walking down the street, and you pass a cab. Nothing out of the ordinary, it seems, except instead of the traditional yellow the cab is painted a sickly neon green. You rub your eyes. Yup, still green. That’s because you’ve just happened upon an Outer Borough Taxi, one of more than 1,000 already on the road since the program opened in June. For those of us who live in the outer boroughs (read: most of us), this is welcome news: There’s nothing worse than standing on a street corner for 20 minutes waving your hands around like and idiot trying to catch a yellow cab that will never come. So why might Bill de Blasio shut down the program when he transitions into office?
The de Blasio campaign took $300,000 from the yellow-cab industry, which feels threatened by the prospect of 18,000 new taxis on the streets by the end of 2015, According to Crain’s.
The program is nothing if not popular. The green cabs have given nearly 300,000 rides since the start of the program, according to the Taxi and Limousine Commission.
So why is De Blasio not totally on board with the program if it is clearly serving a need? He is, after all, on the record saying he wants to “go back to the drawing board” while maintaining that his position has nothing to do with being cowed by yellow-cab donors.
In a statement to the Voice, TLC chairman David Yassky demurred on the issue of de Blasio transition, instead pointing to not just the popularity of green cabs among riders, but among potential taxi drivers, too. There’s money to be made in serving a serious need (In the early days of the program, there were reports of impostor green cabs on the streets).
The full statement:
The Mayor has pledged a seamless transition with the incoming administration, and that certainly extends to the TLC. This process is underway, however today we are focused on the several important milestones (all 6,000 available permits have been issued, and there are more than 1,000 Boro Taxis already on the road), and that both the drivers and passengers are very happy with the new service and how it has improved their lives. Over 1,500 community livery drivers have already joined a waiting list in eager anticipation of the next batch of 6,000 permits, which will be available starting next June, and we’re looking forward to helping them achieve their dream.
The Voice finds itself in an unfamiliar position: agreeing with Mayor Bloomberg, who praised the program on Tuesday for its successes.
“It’s good for everybody. It’s good for yellow cabs, it’s good for green cabs … and it’s good for the people of New York,” said Bloomberg according to a report by the Daily News.