Bloomberg’s ‘Taxi of Tomorrow’ Plan Blocked by Court As Another Authority Overreach

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People look at the new New York City taxi which is designed by the Nissan Motor Co. at an official unveiling on April 3, 2012 in New York City. The new taxis, which will start appearing on the streets of New York next year, service an estimated service 600,000 people daily. The 2014 NV200 Taxi will replace the fleet of iconic Ford Crown Victorias, Ford Escape Hybrids and Toyota Siennas that are currently being used. Some of the highlights of the new taxi include front and rear-seat occupant curtain airbags, a window on the roof, backseat cellphone charging and USB ports and passenger reading lights.NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 03:  People look at the new New York City taxi which is designed by the Nissan Motor Co. at an official unveiling on April 3, 2012 in New York City. The new taxis, which will start appearing on the streets of New York next year, service an estimated service 600,000 people daily. The 2014 NV200 Taxi will replace the fleet of iconic Ford Crown Victorias, Ford Escape Hybrids and Toyota Siennas that are currently being used. Some of the highlights of the new taxi include front and rear-seat occupant curtain airbags, a window on the roof, backseat cellphone charging and USB ports and passenger reading lights.  (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images2012 Getty Images

Yet again, one of Michael Bloomberg's final acts as mayor — the decision to make all new taxis Nissan NV200s, or the suburbanish "taxi of tomorrow" — has gone the way of the soda ban. A state court judge ruled today that Bloomberg and the Taxi and Limousine Commission acted beyond their authority in requiring cab owners to buy the new vehicle, which was set to become the non-hybrid model of (no) choice on October 28. "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," wrote Judge Shlomo Hagler.

The plaintiffs in the lawsuit against the city cited Bloomberg's big loss on giant sugary beverages, noting that the court, in that case, stated "very clearly that administrative agencies are not there for social policy." According to The Wall Street Journal, "Mr. Bloomberg's regulators were doing policy-setting work that should instead be performed by the City Council, Mr. Hagler ruled."

Neither the TLC nor Bloomberg has commented yet on the decision, but we all know how the mayor feels about not getting his way. Between soda, stop-and-frisk, and Bill de Blasio, it seems to be happening a lot lately.

Update: The New York Taxi Workers Alliance has released a statement on the ruling:

“Drivers are majority vehicle purchasers. Taxi of Tomorrow process allows us to use our collective purchasing power to lower the sales costs and have an unprecedented 150,000 miles warranty. Deep pocketed companies bitter that the TLC has finally started enforcing against their lease overcharges against drivers and who profit generously by charging high interest car loans to drivers filed this suit. Drivers and passengers lost today. Special interest won.” - Bhairavi Desai, Executive Director