State of the City’s Transportation: Livery Cabs and Ferries

Mayor Bloomberg delivering the State of the City today. Image: NYC.gov.
Mayor Bloomberg delivering the State of the City today. Image: NYC.gov.

Mayor Bloomberg delivered his tenth State of the City address this afternoon, laying out what he believed to be the city’s accomplishments, challenges, and priorities for the future. And if the speech is any indication, taxis and ferries are at the top of his transportation agenda.

Bloomberg’s plan to create a new class of taxi for the outer boroughs was included in a list of programs intended to make city government more efficient. “Why shouldn’t someone in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, or Staten Island be able to hail a legal cab on the street?” asked the mayor. Under the plan, livery cabs would be allowed to legally pick up street hails so long as they met a set of taxi-style requirements, including metered rates, credit card readers, standard markings, and GPS. A memo by TLC Commissioner David Yassky and Deputy Mayor Stephen Goldsmith argues that expanding cab service in the boroughs would make a car-free lifestyle there easier; currently, 97.5 percent of yellow cab hails are in Manhattan or at the airports.

Bloomberg also discussed his administration’s continued redevelopment of the city’s waterfront. He touted plans to institute city-subsidized ferry service along the East River, the only other mention of transportation policy in the speech. Bus service, walking and cycling didn’t make it into the speech.

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