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Long IslandTransportation

New outer-borough cabs given green light

New York City streets are about to get greener.

Officials Sunday unveiled the new lime-colored outer-borough taxi, which Mayor Michael Bloomberg dubbed "The Apple Green Boro Taxi."

"For decades, the goal of bringing better taxi service to residents and visitors outside of Manhattan eluded the city," Bloomberg said. "At long last New Yorkers in all five boroughs will have safe, comfortable, less costly and legal street hail service."

Taxi and Limousine Commissioner David Yassky called the green cab "pleasing to the eye, easy to see from a distance and [it] blends well with the urban landscape."

Against the opposition of many yellow cab medallion owners, the TLC approved new rules earlier this month to allow the city to begin issuing permits that would allow livery cabs to legally pick up street hails outside Manhattan.

Up to 6,000 cabs can begin applying for the $1,500 permits next month, which only gives drivers permission to pick up fares in the outer boroughs or north of East 96th and West 110th streets in Manhattan. The first set of cabs will hit streets by the end of June, and 20 percent of them must be wheelchair-accessible under a stipulation of the law, which was brokered by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo.

Traditional yellow cabs will retain the exclusive right to pick up passengers in midtown and downtown Manhattan and at area airports. Both the yellow and green cabs will calculate fares using the same metered system.

Yellow cab owners were livid with the TLC's decision, saying it would hurt their business and lessen the value of their medallions. The Metropolitan Taxicab Board of Trade filed a lawsuit earlier this month asking a judge to toss out the new law permitting the outer-borough cab fleet.

"The city sold the exclusive rights of street hails to medallion owners," said Michael Woloz, a spokesman for the group. "In one fell swoop, in the bill that was passed in Albany in the dead of the night, that right was taken away from all medallion owners."

The TLC countered by saying only a tiny fraction of yellow cabs' pickups were outside Manhattan, forcing New Yorkers to illegally hail a livery cab an estimated 100,000 times each day.

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