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Yellow Cabs Accepting Group Rides As Transit System Paralyzed

By Jill Colvin | October 30, 2012 2:08pm | Updated on October 30, 2012 9:38pm

NEW YORK CITY — Mayor Michael Bloomberg has signed an executive order allowing yellow cab drivers to pick up multiple passengers and allowing livery drivers to pick up street hails until subways service is restored.

Much of the city’s subway system has been devastated by floodwaters from Hurricane Sandy, which Bloomberg said Tuesday could take “a good four, five days” to repair.

To help ease the burden, commuters are being asked to carpool via yellow cab — just like during the city's transit strike back in 2005.

But unlike the zone-based fare of 2005, there's a new and complicated fare system where the first passenger in a cab will pay the metered fare, even if the taxi is required to make a detour to drop off additional passengers.

The fare for additional passengers is supposed to be negotiated by the driver and must be quoted upfront. The TLC is recommending a fare of $10 for each additional passenger who join a trip already in progress.

Livery cabs will also be permitted to accept street-hails anywhere in the city, as long as fares are quoted upfront.

For liveries, the TLC is recommending a fare of $15 for trips within Manhattan entirely below 96th Street, entirely above 96th Street or within another borough and $25 for trips crossing from one borough into another or crossing 96th Street in Manhattan.

Buses are also expected to begin hitting the streets again Tuesday afternoon, with most service up and running by Wednesday — and they will be running free of charge.

"And as a little ray of light, no fares will be charged on the buses today and tomorrow as New Yorkers get their life back in gear,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said at a news conference Tuesday afternoon at his office in Midtown.

The MTA has described Hurricane Sandy as the single biggest disaster in its 108-year history, and officials still don't know how much damage has been done.

"The MTA last night faced... as devastating a disaster as it's ever faced in its history,” MTA chief Joseph Lhota said.

On the bright side, most roads and bridges are expected to open soon.

“Bridges and the roads seem to be in good shape and if they’re not open yet, they will be soon,” Bloomberg said.

With Aidan Gardiner