For-hire vehicles (car services, livery cabs, radio-dispatched cabs) can now legally pick up people who flag them down in the places where it's notoriously difficult to find a yellow cab: Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, Staten Island, and north of 96th Street in Manhattan. The Taxi and Limousine Commission voted on Thursday to legalize street hails for them.
Over the next three years, 18,000 special hail licenses for use in those boroughs will be issued to livery cabs at a cost of $1,500 each. Twenty percent (3,600) of the cabs will be handicapped-accessible. The first 6,000 licenses will be available for purchase in June. After they're sold, 6,000 more will be offered for sale, followed by 6,000 more.
The cars will have roof lights, will charge uniform metered fares, will use GPS vehicle locations systems, and will have readers for credit and debit cards.
All of the cars will be the same color, but that hasn't been chosen yet.
The cars will continue to provide prearranged service to those who call the company for a ride.