Despite its current troubles in court, we support Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Five-Borough Taxi Plan, which has hit a judicial roadblock.
New York City’s Taxi & Limousine Commission’s rates, which have stayed roughly stagnant since 2006, rose by 17 percent per mile on Tuesday -— a change that will be fully implemented all yellow taxi cabs by Sept. 30. This increase occured shortly after Bloomberg’s proposal to extend taxi cab service to all five boroughs was declared unconstitutional. The State Supreme Court ruled that the plan violated New York state’s home rule provision, which dictates that lawmakers behind a proposal must seek approval from the City Council before taking it to the state legislature. The city filed an immediate appeal to the court’s decision.
The Five-Borough Taxi Plan would bring hail service to all five boroughs and generate over $1 billion in much needed revenue for the city. While an increase in medallions on the road may restrict taxi drivers from maximizing their earnings per shift, the new 17 percent increase in fare will cushion the potential blow on their incomes.
The sale of 2,000 yellow taxi medallions would balance a $700 million deficit the city is facing in its third fiscal year. The plan also provides for 2,000 additional wheelchair accessible taxis, allowing disabled commuters the same hail service convenience as their fellow New Yorkers.
Furthermore, the plan will increase the number of taxis in the outer boroughs, which aim to quell geographic discrimination and to increase toll revenue.
It’s time that all New Yorkers are given equal access to hail service. Until now, residents of Washington Heights, Queens, Brooklyn, the Bronx and Staten Island have been denied reliable taxi service. Bloomberg’s initiative would change a Manhattan-centric status quo and answer to the needs of the entire population.
A version of this article appeared in the Sept. 6 print edition. Email the WSN Editorial Board at [email protected]