The value of a New York City medallion has almost doubled – which is good news, even if $150,000 seems far off from the $1 million value they held just five or six years ago. To put things in perspective, Newark, NJ taxi medallions sell for $150,000 and their only virtual source of income is fares from Newark airport. So that shows you something. It shows you that NYC taxi medallions are under-valued at this time, yet they are making a comeback.
Just a few months ago Arro and Curb announced a partnership of sorts with Uber, allowing Uber’s rideshare services in yellow cabs. And let us not forget the medallion value guarantee from New York City. In addition, former drivers of yellow cabs started migrating back to driving yellow cabs. So, what else can happen to bring back medallion prices? The real question is, has Uber’s lobbying efforts finally fallen victim to a larger entity with political deals done behind the scenes. This time, any efforts to once again destroy the yellow medallion system has backfired.
Now, Uber’s wet-yellow dream has come true once again, congestion pricing on all yellow fares entering Manhattan below 61st Street. The only problem is, the way the law is written now, Uber vehicles and all for-hire vehicles (FHVs), as well as yellow taxis, could pay between $9 and $23 every time they cross 61st Street. Uber has been out-Ubered and shown its inability to out-lobby the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA), who already has received over $1 billion dollars from yellow taxi surcharges.
I have always said that it is poor public policy for one segment of any industry to supplement the financial needs of a competitor, yet that is exactly what the MTA has done through their impeccable political lobby efforts. One for the MTA.
Come on folks, have politicians and the public really forgotten the billions of dollars that yellow medallion auctions put into New York City’s general fund? The yellow taxi medallion owner has already paid in advance, any and all surcharges by purchasing medallion rights from the city, in addition to annual licensing and inspection fees.
This additional surcharge will most definitely be “the straw.” How can an average fare of $12 increase up to $35 for that same fare and anyone expect the yellow industry to survive? The MTA publicly stated in a press release that yellow cabs cause congestion and therefore should pay the congestion pricing fees. What the MTA does not know about the yellow taxi industry can fill the library of Congress.
Almost half of all medallions are still unused, on a shelf somewhere at the New York City Taxi & Limousine Commission. And an environmental impact study was done stating there was no negative affect with a number of yellow cabs at 13,000. Just take a deep breath while standing behind a New York City bus if you really want to find out where the pollution is coming from. You can scratch that environmental argument MTA.
For mutual survival, the entire For-Hire industry and the entire yellow taxi industry must lobby together to eradicate every law calling for any additional surcharges on their current fares. Good luck ladies and gentlemen stepping over yet another major stumbling block for industrial survival. Is anyone willing to purchase a $150,000 medallion at this time when disaster looms? We shall see…