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Definitions: Taxi, Livery, Car Service, Black Car






TAXICABS: The familiar yellow medallion cabs.  Taxicabs are defined in City law as vehicles seating fewer than nine passengers (in addition to the driver) and permitted to pick up street hails. They are the only vehicles allowed by law to pick up street hails or pick up at taxi or airport stands.  Uniquely to New York, regulations prohibit taxicabs from pre-arranging service through two-way radios.  Taxicabs charge a metered fare.  All taxis are painted yellow.  Each cab has a rooflight indicating available for hire, hired, or off duty.  The number of taxicabs, currently 12,187, is set by local law and rarely changed.  Taxicab vehicle licenses ("medallions" in common parlance) are transferable and currently fetch well over $200,000 in the market.

FOR-HIRE VEHICLE (FHV): Defined in City law as a vehicle seating fewer than nine passengers (in addition to the driver) and providing service after prior arrangement. Under local law, FHVs are prohibited from picking up street hails, although many do so anyway.  For-hire vehicles are required to be affiliated with FHV bases, which are responsible for handling any complaints about the drivers or vehicles.  They charge fares based on zone systems, by the hour or possibly by the mile; they may not use meters.  They also may not have rooflights (except for FHVs based on Staten Island and primarily operating on Staten Island).  The FHV industry is segmented into car services, black cars and limousines.

Car Services: The segment of the for-hire vehicle industry that primarily serves local or neighborhood trips.  They act much like taxicabs for customers in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island and portions of Manhattan.
Black Cars: A segment of the for-hire vehicle industry; primarily serves business clientele with luxury cars (e.g., Lincoln Town Car). Under TLC rules, black cars are defined as FHVs that operated from bases organized as either a franchise or cooperative, and where at least 90% of customers pay by a method other than cash.
Limousines: A segment of the for-hire vehicle industry generally using stretch vehicles.  "Luxury limousines" are defined in TLC rules as FHVs where passengers are charged on the basis of garage to garage service, payment is by other than direct cash payment by the customer, and at least $500,000/$1,000,000 insurance is carried.
Base: A business that dispatches for-hire vehicles, generally via two-way radio.

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