NYC residents and tourists, rejoice—the city of New York has officially passed new taxi regulations to simplify the cabs' roof light system.
Under the new rules, if the light at the top of a yellow taxi is on, the cab is available. If it's off, the cab is not picking up passengers. It's that simple.
According to The New York Post, over 13,000 cabs will change to the new system on January 1, and every cab will have to follow the rule by April 30 of 2013.
The clearer-cut regulation is an improvement upon the city's old taxi light system. Before last week's 7-1 vote, cab drivers had four light options: available (light on), not available (light off), and two "off duty" lights where a driver was allowed to pick up a final fare on the way home.
The new ruling by the city's Taxi and Limousine Commission essentially eliminated the off-duty lights, which the commissioners said confused riders and led to some abuse of power by the drivers.
Cabbies sometimes used the "off duty" rule to their advantage by switching on the off duty lights and refusing to take passengers into one of the five outer boroughs, even though it is technically illegal for any driver to do so. (If this does happen to you, you can call 3-1-1 and report the driver's medallion number to lodge an official complaint.)
The new system will still allow off-duty cabs to pick up fares, but their lights will need to be turned on. Drivers who illegally pick up passengers with their lights turned off will still be fined $100.
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