Livery Drivers Begin 10-Day Rally For Legal Street Hails
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Livery cab drivers rallied Sunday for a taxi bill allowing them to pick up street hails in upper Manhattan and the other four boroughs.
Livery cab drivers and base owners gathered outside Governor Cuomo's Midtown office building for the first in a series of demonstrations scheduled this week.
Advocates say they want to educate the governor on why it's important to sign the Five Borough Taxi Plan.
"There are 150,000 illegal pickups every single day in our communities. This bill will legitimize and legalize that so that we can provide safe and reliable service to the people in the outer boroughs," said Cira Angeles of the New York State Association of Independent Taxi Drivers.
"This is my job but this last year I have been getting about $3,500 in tickets. That is $3,500 I can't use to buy my son Christmas gifts," said livery driver Andry Carmona.
The bill would also add 2,000 new yellow cab medallions to the current fleet.
Cuomo refused to sign the original legislation if changes were not made to add more wheelchair accessible taxis.
Livery cab owners, though, say the bill sent to the governor would not only generate a billion dollars in the cash-strapped city, but also greatly improve cab service in most of the city and is critical to their communities.
"We sustain the brokerages, we sustain the bodega stores, we sustain all the small business in our community," Angeles said.
The governor has 10 business days to sign the bill.