CIVIC CENTER — A state judge shot down the city’s “Taxi of Tomorrow” on Tuesday, saying Mayor Michael Bloomberg's attempts to compel all cabbies to sign up for the next-generation cabs violated the law.
In his ruling, State Supreme Court Justice Schlomo Hagler found the city’s Taxi and Limousine Commission overstepped its authority when it ruled drivers would only be allowed to buy the high-tech Nissan NV200.
“Simply stated, the power to contract and compel medallion owners to purchase the
Nissan NV200 from Nissan for ten years does not exist in the City Charter,” Hagler wrote.
The Greater New York Taxi Association, which filed the lawsuit, praised Hagler's decision.
“We are pleased that Judge Hagler has overturned the Mayor’s efforts to implement this misguided Taxi of Tomorrow initiative using a single vehicle as the standard," the association said in a statement. "In addition, having no Hybrid option or an accessible version, we believe that the Nissan Van NV200 was inappropriate for people in need of accessible vehicles and those who are concerned with the environment."
"This decision is a victory for New Yorkers,” the group added.
The Bloomberg administration touted its major transportation initiative starting in 2007, promising it would create a fleet of cabs in New York City. The Nissan NV200 was selected in 2011 following a design competition and was praised for features including a sun roof, individual climate controls and a cell phone charging station.
The city’s top lawyer, Michael Cardozo, vowed the city would appeal the ruling, claiming in a statement that it is “well within the TLC's authority to authorize the Taxi of Tomorrow."
Bhairavi Desai of the New York Taxi Workers Alliance, which supported the city’s plans, lamented the court’s decision. “Drivers and passengers lost today,” he said in a statement. “Special interest won."