Gov. Andrew Cuomo made a rare public appearance in Brooklyn today and afterwards was bombarded by reporters about the status of a Mayor Bloomberg backed bill that would permit livery cars to make outer borough curbside pick-ups.
“The taxi bill is a very complicated bill that we have been working on for months to try to negotiate,” Gov. Cuomo. “There are a number of parties that are involved–the yellow cabs, what they call the black cars, the livery cabs, the radio base operators and we’ve been trying for months to try to forge a consensus among these groups. The concept behind I think it is right and is bonafide. We want to get more taxi service to the outer boroughs.It would also generate revenue for the city which is very important. But we want to do it in a way that respects everybody’s rights.”
Among the issues that still need to be resolved, the governor said, are whether or not livery cabs will be able to make airport pickups and questions as to the boundaries that livery cabs will be able to pick up street side fairs.
Also on the table on whether or not the cabs will be handicapped accesible.
“I think it is very important that we have 100 percent access for the disabled in the new yellow cars and access for the disabled on the livery cars to some extent. And that has been difficult for all parties involved,” Mr. Cuomo said.
Mayor Bloomberg has resisted further adding more handicapped accesible taxis to the fleet, saying that they are too expensive and are uncomfortable for most riders.
Earlier today the mayor said that time was running short and urged action on the bill quickly.
“It is not really for the mayor to make the changes or not,” Gov. Cuomo said. “You have a number of interests here–you have the yellow cabs, you have the livery cabs service, you have the radio operators. And those are really the interested business parties. The legislation would affect those parties. So it’s not as much the mayor’s opinion or my opinion frankly. It’s how do we do this to provide more car service but do it in a way that is respectful to the businesses and the thousands and thousands of people that work in those businesses.”
Gov. Cuomo added that he thought the deal would be resolved.
“I am an eternal optimist and that is why I am the governor of the state of New York. And we are still trying to find a resolution.”
Before the governor concluded his scrum with reporters, he was interrupted by a supportive heckler who thanked him for visiting Medger Evers College.
“We are going to vote for you when you start running again for re-election,” the woman screamed. “WE LOVE YOU.”
Mr. Cuomo thanked her before turning to the press and saying, “Why don’t you guys ever say that.”
“You wouldn’t believe us,” deadpanned a reporter in response.
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