A group of taxi medallion owners are charging that the city made a secret deal with cab drivers in order to gain their support for the former outer borough street-hail plan, says the New York Post.
In papers filed in Manhattan Supreme Court, the medallion owners say that the mayor’s office and the Taxi and Limousine Commission “conspired” with the Taxi Workers Alliance to get the union to back the plan that would have allowed 18,000 livery drivers to pick up street hails in the outer boroughs and upper Manhattan.
According to the paper, in return, the yellow-cab drivers would get the 17 percent fare hike they’d been seeking – with 100 percent of the profits – as well as a promise from the city to “eliminate or decrease the percentage fee for credit-card charges, and set up a health and disability fund for the drivers,” the suit says.
“These illegal actions are all part of a concerted plan concocted by Mayor Michael Bloomberg and [TLC Commissioner David] Yassky to severely and recklessly diminish the value of taxi medallions for no reason other than to retaliate against medallion owners,” the lawsuit says.
The plan to sell medallions to outer borough livery drivers for the ability to pick up street hails, was struck down in June by a judge who found it unconstitutional, though the 17 percent fare increase still went into effect last month.
According to the Post, the processing of credit card costs is now up to the medallion owners choosing, while six cents from every ride is now being set aside for a drivers health insurance fund.
TLC spokesman Allan Fromberg shot back at the suit, saying: “At a time when medallion sales prices have yet again reached record highs, and the city itself is seeking to sell an additional 2,000 new medallions, their claim reaches a new level of absurdity.”