Coun­cil­man Pro­poses 2-for-1 Medal­lion Deal to Save Yel­low Cabs

The Jewish Voice - - NEW YORK - By Rachel Shapiro

AMan­hat­tan

law­maker is sug­gest­ing that a well­known sales tech­nique could help save the yel­low taxi in­dus­try. City Coun­cil­man Yda­nis Ro­driguez is propos­ing that the city of­fer two ve­hi­cles un­der one taxi medal­lion.

Dur­ing a press con­fer­ence out­side City Hall, as chair of the Trans­porta­tion Com­mit­tee Ro­driquez ad­vised that over 50 medal­lion own­ers will soon be ru­ined by the quickly ex­pand­ing app car ser­vices, like Uber and Lyft, if noth­ing is done to help them.

“This is a cri­sis that can’t wait,” said Ro­driquez, who is also plan­ning to in­tro­duce leg­is­la­tion to give a cash bailout, funded in part by new sur­charges on liv­ery driv­ers, to medal­lion own­ers.

The mayor’s offic and the Taxi and Limou­sine Com­mis­sion both agreed that they would con­sider this 2-for-1 pro­posal. How­ever, sources told The Post that it is un­likely to gain much sup­port from City Hall.

One source told The Post, “There’s no real sup­port for this here.”

Ro­driguez’s event, Costa Con­stan­tinides of Queens, only drew out the sup­port of one fel­low coun­cilmem­ber. Af­ter the event, when Ro­driquez was asked if there was a chance of his pro­posal be­com­ing a law, he said, “I hope so . . . I will con­tinue to speak with my col­leagues, and we’ll see how it goes.”

The Post re­ports, “Sup­port­ers say the yel­low-cab in­dus­try needs flexi il­ity to com­pete with the more than 63,000 cars com­pet­ing via app ser­vices. Al­though 2,000 new for-hire ve­hi­cles en­ter the in­dus­try monthly, the num­ber of yel­low cabs — the only ones al­lowed to pick up street hails — is capped at 13,587. The­o­ret­i­cally, medal­lion own­ers could dou­ble their in­come if they were al­lowed to op­er­ate two taxis at a time per medal­lion.”

Claims that Ro­driquez’s plan could sat­u­rate the yel­low taxi mar­ket were re­jected by him, ar­gu­ing that due to the city’s high tourism there is plenty of de­mand for all types of cabs.

Ro­driquez said, “I think the mar­ket is there for ev­ery­one to do well in the City of New York.”

Amidst the com­pe­ti­tion from car ser­vice apps, the same taxi medal­lions that sold in 2014 for as much as $1.3 mil­lion, are go­ing for as low as $150,000 now.

Medal­lion owner Glo­ria Guerra said, “The City of New York says we have to com­pete, but how can we com­pete? Th y be­trayed us.”

Ac­cord­ing to TLC spokesper­son Re­becca Harsh­barger,

“This is a cri­sis that can’t wait.”

mul­ti­ple steps have been taken by the com­mis­sion to ease reg­u­la­tions for medal­lion own­ers, in­clud­ing the lift of the re­quire­ment for own­ers to per­son­ally drive their cabs for over 150 shifts a year. New laws that re­move blocks to medal­lion own­er­ship, like greatly de­creas­ing the trans­fer tax on medal­lion sales, have also been sup­ported by the com­mis­sion, Harsh­barger added.

In the last three years, taxi medal­lions went from sell­ing for as much as $1.3 mil­lion to as lit­tle as $150,000.

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