New York's taxi war is set to boil over this week - with cabbies threatening to bring traffic to a standstill, and Mayor Rudolph Giuliani vowing revenge. After last week's extraordinary one-day strike by most of the city's 40,000 licensed yellow cab drivers, all eyes are on Thursday's follow-up action - a slow drive across Manhattan, which threatens to cause chaos. But with the public divided about the pros and cons of last week's action, Mr Giuliani is playing a dangerous political game in fighting the cabbies. His staff are now drawing up emergency laws to strip cabs of their monopoly on street business and allow limousine and van services to pick up passengers. The move, designed to stop yellow cabs from inconveniencing the public with further stoppages, could also throw many cabbies out of business. 'New York will not be held hostage,' said Diane McGrath-McKechnie, head of the city's Taxi Commission. But questions are being asked over whether the mayor has pushed his 'quality of life' campaign a little too far. Although taxicab accidents have been on the rise in the past five years, there was no indication of great public dissatisfaction with most of the Big Apple's drivers until Mr Giuliani introduced a strong set of proposals, including hiking drivers' insurance premiums, instituting drug tests for new cabbies and boosting fines for unsafe driving. What the mayor managed to do was mobilise a disparate bunch - who had never even had a proper union - into a unified and angry brotherhood. Refusing to back off, Mr Giuliani taunted the drivers by saying the empty - and much safer - streets on the day of the strike had made New York a better place. If Thursday's stoppage ends in gridlock, and cabbies continue to take action, New Yorkers - who face the daily ritual of fighting to hail taxis - could lose patience with Mr Giuliani's latest crusade.