NEW YORK (AP) – The city can experiment with letting taxi seekers hail rides electronically, a judge said Tuesday in a ruling that could clear the way for riders to summon the city’s signature yellow taxis with smartphone apps instead of raised arms.
While the cabs have been prohibited in the past from taking pre-arranged rides, testing an “e-hail” system is OK to see whether it leads to a dearth of cabs or other problems, Manhattan state Supreme Court Justice Carol Huff wrote in dismissing a lawsuit filed mainly by livery cab owners.
The judge also lifted an order that had temporarily blocked the program, but it wasn’t immediately clear how soon virtual hailing might begin.
Taxi and Limousine Commissioner David Yassky saluted the decision as a victory that expands riders’ choices.
“The market will ultimately decide which apps rise or fall, and we have an obligation to give the riding public that choice,” he said in a statement.
A lawyer for the livery cab owners, Randy Mastro, said they were considering an appeal.
This decision is so fundamentally wrong in so many respects,” Mastro said by phone, declining to elaborate.
The Taxi and Limousine Commission agreed in December to test the idea for a year, saying the city couldn’t ignore evolving taxi technology. E-hail systems are in use in some other cities, and at least a dozen companies said they were ready to provide the service in New York.
One of them, Uber, applauded the court decision as a win for a city seeking to cultivate a technology-friendly reputation.
“You can’t stop progress when the people want it enough,” CEO Travis Kalanick said in a statement.
Using an app, a potential passenger requests a ride, all participating cabbies within a certain distance get the inquiry and the driver who responds first gets the fare.
Car service owners said it unfairly blurred a legal line between yellow and livery cabs, which are barred from picking up passengers on streets and so depend on prearranged rides.
The livery cab owners – and a senior citizen who doesn’t own a smartphone – also envision in the suit that e-hailing will leave people standing on street corners while cabbies zip by to pick up app-arranged fares, potentially reviving concerns about discrimination against passengers based on their race, whereabouts or destination. Those concerns led years ago to measures that barred drivers from taking fares via radio dispatch and from refusing any passenger without “justifiable grounds.”
The judge, however, said the e-hail plan might actually combat any discrimination, since drivers wouldn’t be able to see their fares when accepting them. She didn’t address whether cabbies might shun some neighborhoods to take e-hail requests elsewhere but noted the test program could examine discrimination.
She suggested the electronic system could help, rather than harm, older people by “reducing time spent standing or walking” to find a cab. She also rejected other claims, including an argument that the program was too broad to qualify as a test.
The city’s chief lawyer, Michael Cardozo, said the ruling confirms the city’s position that the program is entirely proper.
Meanwhile, the state’s highest court, the Court of Appeals, was poised to hear arguments Wednesday over a nearly opposite initiative: a plan to let livery cabs pick up passengers on streets in upper Manhattan and the city’s four other boroughs.
In that case, yellow cab owners sued. They said the plan would hurt their business. Mayor Michael Bloomberg has countered that it would make travel safer, easier and cheaper for millions of people.
The outcome could have a major impact on the city’s budget, as the disputed measure is coupled with a proposal to sell 2,000 new yellow-cab permits, or medallions. Officials have estimated that could make the city more than $1.4 billion over several years.
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (10/7-10/14)
25 photos Launch gallery
1. Nite | to the tune of @cnn 😞
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2. Got so much work to do but I just wanna stay in bed and binge watch #Gameofthrones and start the new season of #OnceUponATime. I know I can't be the only one. Right? Ha 💤🦁🍂 #saturday
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3. Mommy's weekend turn up ❤️👶🏾💕🍼 Wouldn't trade it for nothing. #TeamNoSleep lol #HesMyBiggestBlessing ✨
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4. One of them oh shit mont we made it feelings … this shit still be unreal 💯💪🏾 @remyboymonty1738
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5. Tickets Available October 14 @ticketmaster.
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6. People magazine Home edition has raided my house! Get a sneak peek into the bedroom life of the Leakes and see other parts of my home now at PEOPLE.COM
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7. They want to kick you when you down, but kick it when you up
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8. Got my advance copy of #Mafia3 at @gamestop. Get yours via link in the bio #Mafia3 #Ad
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9. This is some of the cast and our diverse team of writers in the writer's room creating funny sh*t for @nbcmarlon what a fun room! Lots of jokes, great stories and having a great time doing what we love... making people laugh and feel something. Look out for our show next year @nbcmarlon we bringing sitcoms back to NBC
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10. #HappySunday☀️Thank you @4everbrandy101 💛💡💛
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11. Happy to be back in Central Falls, RI breaking ground for the One Stop Health Center and hosting a local community event with #Vaseline.
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12. Thank you all in advance 💋💋💋 #Repost @urbansvintage・・・#TarajiPHenson's memoir #AroundTheWayGirl will be available everywhere TODAY October 11th! Will you be purchasing a copy? #UrbansVintage
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13. Moms got my back
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14. @galore dinner party glo ✨ thanks to @styledbygiigii
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15. 🌹#ThisIsWhatTheTruthFeelsLikeTOUR #forevereve
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16. Yes, all those videos I've been posting have led to this: the introduction of skincare to @TYRABeauty! This is the rundown on the new line:Years of research and beauty tips I live by led me to produce the most effective and delightful skincare out there. I'm all about taking really good care of my skin, so I can look like I'm aging in #TyraYears and go filter free on Instagram when I feel like it! Now, it's your turn. ✨My Mama always told me not to wash my face with just my hands. "Tyra, girl, you're just moving the dirt around!" And I've listened. First up is The Clean Machine.... ...a 3-in-1 foaming face wash that cleanses, removes makeup and purified your skin. It has patented technology - a attached Turbo Cleansing Tool - to give you that deep clean that makes your skin feel super fresh. Wanna know more? Yeah, baby. Click that link in my bio.
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17. On set of #beingmaryjane like... ❤️😬💃🏾
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18. #carouselofhope@yvetteshelton100@makeupbylatrice @thestacetheface@marialuciahohan24
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19. I refuse to let a little cold stop me from my daily routines to greatness. #onlythestrongsurvive #warriors
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20. Big things begin with big THINKING... #BusinessEthics #SetLife 🎥
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21. Goodnight - here's a song
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22. Words can't explain the feeling that I have right now.....God is good. look momma I made it. #Harts #Blessed #WhatNow #comedicrockstarshit #4DaysAway
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23. I tried to get a better video with out the nasty bib but she started getting mad at me..lol! Big cuz @the_queen_caitlin trying to show her what to do. #MamasToots #HeirBear👑💜
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24. Gorgeous Serena joined Beyoncé in Formation last night on stage in New Jersey!!!
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25. 😜 @lifeofdesiigner & @rockohill
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