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Today's Headlines

Thursday’s Headlines: Fleet Week Edition

The entire taxi fleet — including Ubers and Lyfts, plus yellows — will have to be electric or handicapped accessible by 2030. Plus other news.

12:00 AM EDT on October 19, 2023

File photo: Julianne Cuba|

Mayor Adams in a city electric car.

This week's headlines are sponsored by City & State's upcoming transportation innovation symposium on Oct. 25. Click the icon for info.

The only real "news" from Wednesday was the mayor's announcement that the Ubers and Lyfts will have to be electric or handicapped accessible by 2030.

We're not huge fans of electric cars because they eliminate only one of the roughly 723 negative aspects of regular cars. And, like Gothamist and the Daily News, we're not that excited by the idea that there won't be a cap on the number of cabs that the Taxi and Limousine Commission will license (as long as they're electric). And we aren't alone:

In any event, it was an on-topic presser, so I asked the mayor what he's doing about the 30,000-strong city fleet, which costs us in congestion, unnecessary driving, vehicle costs and settlements when city employees hit something or someone.

The mayor seemed as prepared for my question as Arizona sluggers were for fat Lance Lynn pitches over the plate.

"From day one, I did an analysis," he said. "We had a lot of cars that were supposed to be turned back in, but agencies were holding on to them anyway. ... I brought all of my commissioners in and said we want all of those cars turned back in.

"Second thing we did, there were supposed to be monitoring devices on all of the vehicles to make sure people were not recklessly driving, and did they actually need the vehicle because some people were just using the vehicle to go home and back," he added. "We did a complete analysis. We made sure that every vehicle has that monitoring tool."

Um, really? The mayor was apparently referring to this pilot program, but as we reported in January, it's nowhere near on every car yet, as the city had only just applied for federal grants to fund the installation of the monitors on 7,500 vehicles over three to four years. But go on ...

"Then we did a real analysis of [whether they] actually need the vehicles," he added. "I always knew we had an overuse of vehicles, many people who are abusing the use of vehicles, and we should only use those vehicles if we have to use those vehicles. And I am really open to give you a real look at what we did and how we analyzed our city fleet."

Wow, it sounded too good to be true! So after the presser, I asked two of the mayor's press aides to get me whatever supporting documents they want and I'd be happy to report on them. Unfortunately, no one got back to me, but I'm hoping that today's the day. If they do, you'll be the first (or second) to know.

In other news from a slow day:

  • Other outlets covered the green taxi announcement straight. (Patch, amNY, Crain's). The Post has long hated the idea, naturally.
  • The most important story of the day was Gothamist's piece about how Mayor Adams has completely abandoned his street safety and bus lane agenda.
  • Hell Gate, once again, channeled Streetsblog, but did it one better, on Mayor Adams's hypocrisy on e-bikes. The Daily News also got a second day angle, covering the mayor blaming e-bike riders for their own deaths.
  • The housing shortage continues. (The City)

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