Municipal Taxi Companies: Cab Drivers
In the wake of Uber, Lyft, and other for-hire vehicle companies, the licensed taxi industry is taking quite a toll. As free Uber signups flood a city, the value of a traditional cab license (or “medallion” In New York City) is taking a huge hit. Medallions are currently priced 40% lower from its peak in 2014. The NYC taxi industry, which has 13,600 yellow taxis, is competing with at least 20,600 Uber cars roaming the streets. Many of these cars are filled with former taxi drivers. The surge of Uber and loss of taxi drivers has led to a rapid decline in medallion prices, causing a financial crisis for corporate taxi owners, who took out loans to buy medallions and are now “underwater”. The long iconic yellow taxi has never had to sell its brand before, given its well-known reputation in the city. However, with more convenient options for drivers and riders, a group representing approximately 5,500 taxi owners launched a $1 million campaign to bring back drivers to yellow cabs. City Hall also stepped in on the effort to assist the yellow taxi industry. Mayor Bill de Blasio is calling for a one-year halt on new Uber cars. It will be interesting to see how the yellow taxi drivers and Uber steer their way through this bumper-to-bumper traffic.