MANHATTAN — The Taxi and Limousine Commission is getting set to release 6,000 new green cab taxi permits beginning in August, TLC commissioner Meera Joshi said Monday, providing even more rides for yellow cab-starved outer borough residents.
The next fleet of cabs will also be more wheelchair-accessible, as Joshi said that 45 percent of permits issued this year will be for accessible vehicles, up from 20 percent in last year's batch of 6,000.
About one year after the first green taxis hit the streets in Northern Manhattan, Joshi called the program a success, saying it has opened new transportation options for residents and new business opportunities for cabbies.
Almost 7 million New Yorkers have taken rides in the green cabs since the first permit was sold last June, Joshi said, with Boro Taxis making 5.8 million trips.
"The street hail livery program has gone far in filling a transportation gap in areas underserved by mass transit and and safe and legal service," Joshi said before the City Council's transportation committee.
The green cabs, introduced in 2012 as a way to provide metered fare service to outer-borough riders who are often not served by yellow cabbies, has been most popular in Northern Manhattan and Queens, with the two boroughs accounting for 1.8 and 1.6 million trips, respectively. Brooklyn came in third with 1.4 million trips.
The program received criticism last year when data showed that green cabs clustered in neighborhoods like Morningside Heights, Astoria and the southern section of East Harlem, but Joshi said that the TLC has noticed an expansion in coverage around the city as more permits have been issued.
"As cars have been added, we've seen them spreading out," Joshi said. "It's our expectation that with the addition of additional cars we'll continue that spread out of service."