protesting cab drivers

It took more than a couple of legal strategems, but New York City's mayor Michael Bloomberg has outwitted the city's powerful yellow taxi lobby. The State Legislature passed a bill making it legal for New Yorkers to hail livery cabs from the street. What's a livery cab? It's a private taxi, unmarked, often a Town Car, usually found in areas in and outside of Manhattan that aren't well served by yellow taxis. They don't run on meters, either; a fare is agreed upon between the rider and driver.

It is illegal for livery cabs to pick up 'street hails,' as they're called, and the yellow taxi industry wants to keep it that way. Blooomberg has been trying to get that changed, and did so by circumventing the City Council, which has usually supported the taxi industry. Assuming governor Cuomo signs the bill into law and it sticks, livery cabs would need to buy medallions and be fitted with roof signs, fare meters and GPS trackers, and be painted in specific colors to denote their role. And there are still places, like Midtown and the Financial District, where they would be forbidden from picking up fares.

Livery-cab trips would also come with a $0.50-cent surcharge, the money going to support mass transit. But neither that nor the possibility of more taxi service for more NYC residents has kept the yellow taxi industry from howling, with a representative saying it "will stop at nothing" to protect its interests.