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 public.