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