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Background on the Boro Taxi program

Why Boro Taxis?

According to yellow taxi GPS data the TLC has collected, 95% of yellow taxi pick-ups occur in Manhattan below 96th Street and at JFK and LaGuardia airports. Residents of the city’s other boroughs have had significantly fewer opportunities to conveniently hail a cab on the street, which has also meant less access to safe and legal taxi rides as they often had to rely on street pickups by liveries or unlicensed vehicles. As a result, the Street Hail Livery program allows for Boro Taxi drivers to pick up street hail passengers in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens (except the airports), Staten Island, and northern Manhattan (north of West 110th Street and East 96th Street). Neither street hails nor pre-arranged trips are allowed by Boro Taxis in the core Manhattan zone.

TLC data shows that 97% of yellow taxi pick-ups have historically occurred in central Manhattan and at the airports. (Source: TLC)

The Boro Taxi program addresses 5 major issues in NYC’s taxi and for-hire vehicle industries:

  • Mobility: Neighborhoods outside Manhattan previously lacked access to legal point-to-point transportation without calling ahead.
  • Car Ownership: Taxis are a form of car sharing and a well-functioning taxi system helps provide alternatives to car ownership.
  • Service Quality: The quality of street-hail service available outside Manhattan was inconsistent and exposed passengers to fare haggling and other inconveniences.
  • Passenger Safety: Many passengers have difficulty differentiating legal liveries from illegal cabs.
  • Illegal Activity: Passengers outside Manhattan who wanted on-demand service by street hailing had no choice but to rely on drivers who were violating the law.

Launch of Boro Taxis

The Five Borough Taxi Plan was first announced by Mayor Bloomberg during his State of the City address in January 2011. Following months of discussions with elected officials and industry stakeholders, a bill known as the State Livery Law was created and then passed by the State Assembly and Senate in June 2011. On December 21, 2011, Governor Cuomo signed the bill into law under the condition that a chapter amendment would accompany the bill at the start of the next legislative session. Following a challenge in the state Court of Appeals, the State Livery Law was upheld in June 2013 and the TLC began issuing new Street Hail Livery licenses (the TLC’s technical term for a Boro Taxi).

The law authorized the TLC to issue up to 18,000 Boro Taxi permits licenses over the next three years, with an allotment of 6,000 per year. One-fifth of all licenses will be designated for wheelchair accessible vehicles. Boro Taxi licenses were made available to any current for-hire vehicle driver licensed by the TLC who has no outstanding summonses or fines.

In April 2012, Mayor Bloomberg held a press conference with TLC Commissioner/Chair David Yassky to announce the choice of Big Apple Green as the official color for Boro Taxis.  An ad campaign promoting the Boro Taxi program will be launched later this November 2013, featuring the new taxis in front of iconic locations throughout the five boroughs. The ads are designed to enhance public awareness of the program, while letting people know how and where they can most conveniently catch a Boro Taxi.

Mayor Bloomberg and Commissioner David Yassky announce the new Boro Taxi program in April 2012. (Source: TBA)

The first Boro Taxi hit the streets on August 8, 2013. On November 12, 2013, the TLC and Mayor Bloomberg celebrated a new milestone: over 1,000 Boro Taxis are now on the road.

According to Boro Taxi data collected from August to November 2013, green cabs have been bringing taxi service to previously under-served areas of the city. (Source: TLC)

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