By Carla Zanoni
UPPER MANHATTAN — The New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) wants to hear from riders about the possibility of a new group of livery cab drivers allowed to pick up street hails in Upper Manhattan and the outer boroughs.
Following up on Mayor Michael Bloomberg's State of the City proposal to allow some livery cab drivers to pick up would-be passengers off the street, the TLC launched an online survey on Thursday to learn more about how the riding public use taxis and car services.
TLC spokesman Allan Fromberg said "there is nothing to prevent the potential for Upper Manhattan to be included in final plan," despite a public statement about the survey stating the new fleet will "make on-street pickups outside of Manhattan."
TLC Commissioner David Yassky was quoted in the same statement as saying the agency knows "for sure that New York City residents in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island need better street hail service."
The Mayor's Office scrambled to include Upper Manhattan in the proposal after DNAinfo questioned why the area, which doesn't get many yellow cabs, was left out of the mayor's discussion of the issue in the State of the City address.
Officials from Community Board 12 said they had yet to hear about the survey from the TLC, but would be contacting the agency to ensure the Upper Manhattan community has a chance to learn more about the potential program.
The prospect of a group of livery cabs that offers what the TLC calls "yellow-taxi-like amenities," including metered fares, credit/debit card payment and clearly marked cabs for street hails, has been met with excitement and some curiosity from Harlem to Inwood.
"I think it's great," said Washington Heights resident Ana Peralta, 34. "But picking people up on the street…don't they already do that?"
The survey is available in both English and Spanish at www.nyc.gov/taxi.