BROOKLYN - After a long battle with the state Legislature, livery cab drivers have earned the right to legally pick up street hails.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg says the new law will bring taxi service to seven million people living in the outer boroughs and help the Taxi and Limousine Commission rake in more than $1 billion. Much of that money will be coming from livery drivers who must now purchase new accessibility medallions.

Officials say the added revenue will ease the city's budget crisis.

Many outer-borough residents say that the move will make getting around easier since many taxis don't currently go to certain neighborhoods.

However, drivers say the added cost of meters in livery cabs and the risks of being mugged will make it harder on outer-borough taxi drivers.