Bloomberg says Liu’s bid to block a standardized taxi ‘doesn’t matter’

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Taxi of Tomorrow (via taxioftomorrow.com)
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Today, comptroller John Liu will announce that he is rejecting the Bloomberg administration's contract with Nissan for the Taxi of Tomorrow, a vehicle designed to be the standard taxi for New York.

In May, when Liu threatened to block it, arguing that the taxi violates the Americans with Disabilities Act because it can't accommodate wheelchairs, the administration called him "clearly ill-informed."

According to the city law department, Liu can only reject contracts if they're not properly written or if he suspects corruption is involved.

And so, during his regular Friday morning radio appearance, Michael Bloomberg dismissed the comptroller's reported plan as irrelevant.

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"It isn't worth spending a lot of time trying to decipher why some of these things are done," he said. "I'm not here to assassinate anybody, but it doesn't make a lot of sense. In fact it doesn't matter. We can go ahead and do it anyways, which we will."

Separately, Gambling asked Bloomberg about the Taxi and Limousine Commission's decision yesterday to launch a one-year taxi app pilot that will, starting in February, allow New Yorkers to hail cabs by smartphone, rather than the old-fashioned, arm-in-the-air method.

Taxi drivers are generally supportive of so-called "e-hailing" because they believe apps will provide them additional customers, while the livery and black car industries are fiercely opposed, believing that the apps represent an improper incursion into their exclusive, pre-arranged service territory.

Bloomberg used the occasion to lament the yellow cab industry, which has done battle with him on a variety of other initiatives, including his five-borough taxi plan.

"The cab industry's a funny industry," he said. "I don't know of any other place in the world where the city gives a license and the people that have that license can then trade it and resell it and the city doesn't have any interest and any ability to share in the value going up."

"A normal market, you'd say, well just issue more taxi licenses," he continued. "Wrong. Because they have bought the legislatures and stopped the ability to do that. It is one of the great ripoffs of the public any place I've ever seen."