The sedans in black, silver, and navy waited along the curb for a signal: a look, a slight nod, an impatient rap on the window.
With each one, a passenger climbed inside one of the cars waiting below an elevated subway station in the Bronx, and the car drove away. Though these street pickups by livery cabs are illegal and can carry hefty fines for the drivers, they happen so often and in so many corners of the city that they are a familiar street ritual.
But it is a tradition that may soon be upended.
In a major reshaping of New York City’s for-hire transportation industry, the city this summer is rolling out a new fleet of green taxis to expand legal street-hail service beyond Manhattan.
Elected officials and many livery company owners and drivers say it will not only ensure service for poor and minority neighborhoods where yellow taxis are rarely seen, but will also benefit livery drivers who, by converting to green taxis, need no longer look in the rearview mirror every time they make a street pickup.
But in some lines of livery cars, the very drivers the expansion aims to help expressed anger and worry. The drivers said that they eked out a meager living as it was, in neighborhoods with spotty demand and few big tippers, and that converting to a green taxi would cost them thousands of dollars they do not have and subject them to more rules.
“I don’t want it,” Pablo Camilo, 57 and a father of three, said as he waited by his gray Toyota Camry in the Bronx. “I want it to be like it is. I can’t spend money I have to spend on my family.”
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