The current New York City and New York State plans to “remedy” the taxi medallion disaster is simply too little, too late. The city’s plan calls for a total of $65 million as follows: a $20,000 grant (that’s a start) and $9,000 to pay medallion lenders. This ONLY works if the lenders agree to restructure the existing loan, something most have NOT done over the last four years as the loans became due.

New York State’s plan calls for $125,000 to “back loans.” Lenders must agree to reduce loan debt from let’s say from $750,000 to $125,000, which is highly unlikely. At best, the plight of current medallion owner has not been totally forgotten, but those small immigrant businesspeople who went into bankruptcy or foreclosure have not been addressed in any manner.

At a recent hearing in Albany regarding the current taxi medallion situation, journalist Nicole Gelinas brought forth a well-thought-out plan: Make a Congestion Pricing Surcharge EXCEPTION for yellow taxis. That should come to a $130,000 benefit over ten years. Gelinas also mentioned that a medallion is an asset.

As a non-performing asset, no one is earning a single dollar on over 7,000 medallions sitting unused at the NYC Taxi & Limousine Commission headquarters in Long Island City. By the way, that is over half of the entire yellow taxi fleet.

Here is a plan I call “The Pollack Plan”: Since New York City received every penny from medallion purchasers at medallion auctions amounting to billions of dollars, New York City should oversee the leasing or rental of those 7,000 idle medallions. The income could be used for the following:

  • 40% of income to payback at an agreed price to those who have lost their businesses, went bankrupt, went into foreclosure or simply have a non performing asset.
  • 40% would go into the New York City general fund, as did the income from auctioned medallions for city services.
  • The remaining 20% would be used for the operation of each medallion with items such as the cost of a new vehicle, any repairs, insurance, fees with money going to the families of those drivers who committed suicide.

This will also give New York City the incentive to truly help the yellow taxi industry because they will finally be a true partner.

Additionally, in the same way FreshDirect charges a delivery fee to subscribers, a fee could be added to each fare of the Ubers and Lyfts and used in the same manner… with one addition: Add money from those fees for Black Car bases affected by a drastic loss of their businesses.

Lastly, the registering of all bicycles, (not just CitiBikes) will bring in hundreds of millions of dollars annually from “bike-plates” and fees, and better protect the public.