Smartphone apps that can hail a cab finally started operating this week in New York City with the blessing of the Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC). However, an appellate judge has issued a last-minute emergency injunction, in response to a lawsuit from players in the taxi and livery industry that challenges the apps' legality.

The final decision is scheduled for May 20th

The lawsuit challenged the TLC pilot program under which the apps were being introduced. It was dismissed by a lower court judge last week, but the petitioners appealed. The injunction will give appellate judges time to review the ruling from the Manhattan Supreme Court.

"This faux ‘pilot program’ is so fundamentally flawed and illegal in so many respects that it had to be stopped," Randy Mastro, the attorney for the petitioners, told Bloomberg in an email. "And now it once again has been."

"We're disappointed that there is a further delay in implementing the e-hail pilot program," Michelle Goldberg-Cahn, a city lawyer working on the case, said in a statement. "It's unfortunate that taxi riders will not be able to continue to test this innovative tool for hailing taxis."

The motion is scheduled to be submitted to the appellate panel on May 13th with a decision to be issued on May 20th. Uber and Hailo, the two companies that have received licenses from the TLC, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.