To Build a Simpler New York City Taxi Light

The city's may do away with the confusing "off-duty" light in favor of simply "on" or "off"

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Because those blinking lights on top of a cab "can befuddle out-of-towners," as The New York Times politely puts it, the Taxi Commission is looking to simplify the lights on the roof of cabs. Currently there's the "off-duty" light which, when the medallion number is off, means that the cab is unavailable. There's a new proposal mentioned: there will only be one light that's either illuminated (grab the cab) or not (don't bother hailing it right now) that should clarify what to do when you see a yellow blur speeding toward you. The system, as the Times notes, would prevent cab drivers from flipping on the "off duty" light just to be choosy about passengers. The change would also probably be hailed by, as the New York Post less politely described, the "many bumbling tourists and nearsighted locals" who may get confused. If you need a further guide on the current light schemes, refer to this very detailed sidebar.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.