New York, New York – A U.S. federal judge has granted a preliminary injunction against the City of New York’s hybrid taxicab mandate, which was to take effect on November 1.
The mandate, introduced by New York mayor Michael Bloomberg, required taxicabs to achieve a minimum of 9.4 L/100 km in 2009, and 7.8 L/100 km in 2010, which would effectively have meant hybrid or compressed natural gas vehicles.
Judge Paul A. Crotty ruled in favour of the plaintiffs, which include the Metropolitan Taxicab Board of Trade (MTBOT), the country’s largest taxi trade association. In his decision, Crotty said that, “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 unconvicing. Accordingly, Plaintiff’s motion for a preliminary injunction is granted.”
In its lawsuit, MTBOT cited a 2008 engineer’s report that concluded that hybrid taxicabs were unsafe and unfit for taxi use, and cited the refusal of any hybrid automaker to certify the crashworthiness of their hybrids when outfitted with mandatory taxi partitions, or when used in 24/7 commercial taxi operation.
“MTBOT applauds Judge Paul A. Crotty’s decision,” said Ron Sherman, president of MTBOT. “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, bulletproof partitions and unfit for 24/7 taxi service.”