A federal judge has granted a
preliminary injunction against the City of New York's hybrid taxi mandate,
which was to take effect tomorrow, November 1st. Judge Paul A. Crotty of
the United States District Court, Southern District of New York ruled in
favor of the plaintiffs which include the Metropolitan Taxicab Board of
Trade (MTBOT), the country's largest taxi trade association.
The decision reads as follows:
"The Court finds that Plaintiffs have standing to bring this action;
that they will be irreparably harmed; and that Plaintiffs have demonstrated
a likelihood of success on the issue of preemption. The City's
counterarguments are unconvincing. Accordingly, Plaintiff's motion for a
preliminary injunction is GRANTED."
In its lawsuit, MTBOT had cited a 2008 engineer's report that concluded
that hybrid taxicabs were unsafe and unfit for taxi use. The group also
cited the refusal of any hybrid automaker to certify the crashworthiness of
their hybrids when outfitted with mandatory partitions or when used in 24/7
commercial taxi operation.
"MTBOT applauds Judge Paul A. Crotty's decision," said Ron Sherman,
President of the Metropolitan Taxicab Board of Trade. "For MTBOT and so
many others, this has never been about whether or not the taxi industry
should be embracing a greener, more fuel-efficient fleet. This is about
safety and common sense. We have been actively working with the auto
industry and City to bring a safe, comfortable, fuel-efficient taxicab to
the market. And while we're pleased that these 'taxis of tomorrow' may be
available as early as this summer, the much smaller, non-commercial
passenger hybrids available for purchase today are unsafe when outfitted
with hard, bullet-proof partitions and unfit for 24/7 taxi service."
Mr. Sherman continued, "MTBOT has always preferred that this issue be
settled out of Court. However, after exhaustive efforts at the TLC, we were
given no choice and were compelled to advocate on behalf of the safety of
our passengers and drivers. Now that the Court has ruled in our favor, and
indeed -- in the taxi passenger's and taxi driver's favor -- we look
forward to working with the Taxi and Limousine Commission and our
colleagues in the taxi industry to ensure the continuity of safe,
effective, comfortable taxi service for the riding public."
MTBOT is the country's largest taxi fleet association. It represents 27
yellow medallion taxi fleets in New York City that comprise over 3,500
medallion taxicabs -- approximately 25% of the taxi industry. MTBOT members
have operated more than 30 different vehicles over several decades
including minivans, Compressed Natural Gas vehicles and hybrids. MTBOT
advocates on behalf of its members, its 14,000 drivers and the riding