A new color for New York City cabs: apple green

April 30, 2012 5:20:50 AM PDT
New York City will see a new kind of taxi on its streets this summer - and it won't be yellow.

Apple green was announced Sunday as the official new color for the 18,000 livery cabs that will serve Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, Staten Island and northern Manhattan.

The head of the city's Taxi and Limousine Commission, David Yassky, says the new cabs will be licensed to pick up passengers by street hail.

It's currently illegal for livery cabs to be stopped on the street, though it's common practice.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg says the outer borough taxis he proposed will bring safe, comfortable, less costly service to areas outside Manhattan.

The first of 6,000 annual batches of cab permits will be issued in June.

The cabs will be a very bright apple gree.

You won't be able to miss it and that's the point.

The green taxis now have the green light to pick up street fares in those areas where yellow cabs don't travel.

There's no missing the bright neon color and the fare signal on top.

They will all be painted apple green, have a meter - so no more haggling over rates - and best of all, they'll be allowed to pick up street hails.

"I won't be considered a hoodlum, an illegal, a thief," said Jose Altamireno of El Barrio's Car Service. "We're now like a legitimate part of the industry."

This change in street rules will affect 7 million New Yorkers who live in the outer boroughs and northern Manhattan, meaning north of 96th Street on the East Side and north of 110th Street on the West.

Until now, passengers in those areas always had to call a car service in advance or hope a Gypsy Cab would give them a ride.

Those livery drivers risked big fines and possible seizure of their cars if caught picking up street hails.

The city estimates 100,000 illegal fares take place each and every day.

Meaning, there is a huge need for cabs in the outer boroughs.

Officials are hoping this will address that demand in a legal and standardized way.

"So the yellows will stay in central Manhattan where the business is best," Yassky said. "And the borough taxis will be available to serve the other 80 percent of the city."

A major critic of this new system is yellow cab drivers.

Despite their objections, plans are to allow 18,000 borough taxis to begin roaming the streets this summer.

Officials say 20 percent of the new cabs will be wheelchair accessible.

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