A group of livery cab drivers protested Bloomberg's proposed outer-borough taxi fleet yesterday but rather than scrap the plan (for the second time) the mayor's office is reportedly enlisting former Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr., to be an "honest broker" in the ongoing battle.
Though Diaz has bickered with Bloomberg in the past, his selection to help out TLC president David Yassky could actually be inspired. Not only does Diaz have good connections with the outer boroughs and their businesses, he also once worked for the TLC.
The proposed plan would mean the creation of 1,500 new yellow taxi medallions, which would be auctioned off with 6,000 attached "borough only" medallions (in the plan corporations that bought one regular medallion would get six "borough" ones while individuals buying one regular would get just one free "borough" medallion). Considering that current medallions sell for a minimum of $600,000 it is thought a new auction could earn the city as much as $1 billion dollars. But outer borough livery drivers are livid at the idea, worried that the new breed of cabs would take away their bread and butter. "I don't have the money to buy a [yellow cab] medallion. The way the economy is now, we're just working to pay our bills," one driver told the News. But in order to make the lives of New Yorkers easier, something is going to have to give.
"We want to find a way to decriminalize street hails and at the same time not devalue the yellow medallions that so many people have invested so much in," Diaz has said regarding the plan. "Hopefully, we'll get to a place where not everyone gets 100 percent, but the majority of people are satisfied." Considering that many livery drivers are very opposed to making it easier for outer borough residents to hail a cab, that seems about the best anyone can hope for.