How to Stabilize the Taxi Industry (Crain's Op-Ed)
Crain's reporter Brian Pascus overviews the current state of the NYC yellow cab industry and outlines what lies ahead.
By Brian Pascus (Crain’s New York Business)
The city’s taxi industry is failing. The value of each cab is tied to the value of its medallion, the city-issued permit used to regulate the industry. Medallion values increased 500% between 2001 and 2013, and the average medallion price reached $1.1 million in 2014. But since the emergence of ride-share companies such as Uber and Lyft in the early 2010s, the average value of a taxi medallion has plunged to a median price of less than $150,000, leaving many drivers destitute and in debt.
No arm of the city is more responsible for the medallion industry than its regulator, the Taxi and Limousine Commission. By not regulating the growth of Uber and Lyft as they came into the market, the TLC allowed more than 120,000 ride-share vehicles to enter the streets by 2018. There are now too many cars on the road and not enough business for the 13,500 medallion owners to pay off their loans.
Immigrants drive 95% of all the taxi cabs in the city. For many of the drivers, owning a taxi medallion was their first great investment in the American dream. As its value crashed, so did their lives and savings. The situation got so desperate that some drivers killed themselves.
The TLCMKT Newsletter is written by Dawood Mian, Founder & CEO of TLCMKT. I cover the NYC ridehailing industry and related news. Search TLCMKT for TLC cars, parts, service, accessories, professional services, reviews & more. Find great deals at TLCMKT.COM.