If you want to run a taxi in New York City, it’s going to cost you $766,000.00USD to buy a medallion for the right to run that taxi. That cost is up 126% from $339,000.00 in 2004.
Matthew Daus, chairman of New York’s Taxi & Limousine Commission (TLC), credits the steady rise in medallion prices to the record numbers of taxi drivers looking for shifts. Currently, there are more than 46,000 cabbies licensed in New York, creating heated competition for the 13,000-plus medallions.
Not everyone is happy with the tight supply of medallions and the ever-rising cost, which is passed on to cabbies who can’t afford to buy their own. Driver Zafar Raja, 36, who moved to New York from Pakistan in 1996, says the abundance of drivers has led to rising lease rates that require him and others to work “too many hours” to cover their costs.
The stunning cost of a taxi medallion is obscene in today’s fiscal envelope.
What is the point of creating such a high price for inclusion in order to drive a taxi in New York City?
Sure, we get the idea of a big company buying up these medallions and then “leasing them” to immigrants and such for $800 a week — with the implied opportunity to, perhaps, take out a loan from them and buying a medallion later — but why should so few thrive during an economic meltdown?
New York City must offer a lower priced medallion to more individual drivers. Then you’ll actually be able to get a cab in NYC outside the bejeweled isle of Manhattan.