Hand hailing is about to be passé.
The city got the green light to let taxi riders hail cabs with smartphones Tuesday when a judge tossed a lawsuit filed by e-hail opponents.
Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Carol Huff rejected legal arguments that the Taxi and Limousine Commission lacked the legal authority to launch a pilot program that would last 12 months and be restricted to Manhattan south of 59th St.
“This decision is a victory for all the riders who want to decide for themselves what technologies and services they want to use,” TLC Commissioner David Yassky said. “The market will ultimately decide which apps rise or fall and we have an obligation to give the riding public that choice. Thanks to today’s ruling, they have that choice.”
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The lawsuit was filed by business and trade groups representing the livery and corporate car industry. For decades, only livery and the so-called “black car” businesses have been permitted by the TLC to arrange rides in advance.
“We are very pleased,” said city lawyer Michael Cardozo. “The ruling confirms our position that the pilot was completely proper. The TLC must be able to pilot new technology like e-hail apps to stay on the cutting edge of industry and to best serve the public.”
The TLC didn’t immediately say when riders and cabbies would be able to start arranging rides electronically.
Huff on March 7th issued a temporary restraining order blocking the city from starting the pilot program until she considered the arguments and made her decision.