Yellow cab Bailouts, What it can mean for Uber Car Drivers
The New York City Council is weighing a bailout of the yellow-cab industry, with possible restrictions and surcharges on rivals such as Uber car, Lyft and other ride sharing companies.
Several dozen beleaguered taxi-medallion owners flocked to a council Transportation Committee hearing Monday to complain that the ride-share apps have caused a 90 percent drop in the value of their medallions, Medallion owners cant even sell those medallions as the future of taxi's in New York is very clear.
Taxi Medallion Holders say that the city should never have allowed Uber car, Lyft and others to operate without the same fees and regulations to which taxis are subject to paying, and that the presence of nearly 70,000 ride-share vehicles is killing their ability to earn a living.
“Uber shouldn’t be above the law,” said medallion owner Gloria Guerra.
She and her husband, William, purchased their taxi medallion for $86,000 in 1984. They planned to sell it to fund their retirement. But the medallions, which were selling for about $1.3 million in 2011, are now virtually unsalable.
“The number of taxis are limited, but Uber cars aren’t. Taxis can’t raise their fares, but Uber can. Taxis are more tightly regulated by the city. It’s two completely different sets of rules, and it’s killing us,” Gloria said.
The committee said it would consider launching a task force and a six-month study on the ride-share programs’ impact on the industry.
One measure the panel will consider is capping the total number of cars operated by Uber and other ride-share apps with their growing market share they can eventually push Yellow Cabs completely out.
The committee is also considering helping medallion owners with a cash bailout funded partly by surcharges on any livery car — along with letting each medallion cover two taxis instead of the current one and easing up on disabled-access requirements.
Whatever the city does, it has to do it fast, said Richard Lipsky, spokesman for the Taxi Medallion Owners and Drivers Association, who added that he was shocked that the council waited for four years after Uber arrived to hold a hearing on how to help taxis.
“It’s about time, and let’s hope it isn’t too late,” said Lipsky. “As we speak, th
ousands of medallion owners are either in foreclosure or facing financial ruin.”
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