The lawsuit claims the state law authorizing the five-borough taxi plan is unconstitutional, at least in part because it wasn’t preceded by a Home Rule message of support from the City Council.
The law also infringes on the rights of yellow taxi owners, the suit says, who were promised they alone would be allowed to pick up passengers who don’t have a prior arrangement — and paid dearly for that monopoly.
“The street hail livery rules are unconstitutional, irresponsible and unconscionable,” said Ron Sherman, president of the Metropolitan Taxicab Board of Trade, representing the larger fleets.
“How can the City of New York sell medallions to thousands of individual owner-drivers and small businesses,” he continued, “promising them the exclusive right to pick up street hails, only to take that right away in one destructive piece of legislation? And how can the City do this without a single public hearing, without the authorization of the City Council, and without a single economic study on its effects on this industry comprised mostly of immigrants who have pursued the American dream by working hard, saving their earnings and playing by the rules?”
The trade group filed the lawsuit in Manhattan Supreme Court — one day before the Taxi and Limousine Commission is set to vote on 200-pages worth of rules for the five-borough plan. The plan includes granting up to 18,000 livery hail licenses.
Livery drivers with such permits could pick up street hails in Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, Staten Island and northern Manhattan. They couldn’t make pickups at the airports.
It also includes the city sale of 2,000 yellow cab medallions to expand the yellow fleet.