While speaking of New York, great news for those of us who love live theater. Theater tickets on Broadway last year outsold ticket sales of all 10 New York and New Jersey professional sports teams combined.
WOW! The common wisdom is that ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft are crushing the yellow cab industry in New York City.
NYC Councilman Díaz introduced a bill that aims to even the playing field by further regulating black car services, upping fees and making drivers commit to just one app-based service despite past efforts to further regulate companies like Uber have failed.
Yellow cab driver’s numbers have been falling since 2014. Green cabs numbers have fallen to all-time lows, with many drivers switching to Uber. There have been many suicides by taxi drivers As of October 2018, there were 61,000 cars working for Uber, though many drivers work for more than one service, like Lyft. Yellow cab trips have dwindled, while other kinds of paid rides have increased dramatically. Overall, the taxi and car service industry in the city has grown, with more registered vehicles and more drivers. But as ride-hailing services become more popular, there are considerably fewer yellow and green cabs looking for rides.
But it is taxi industry insiders — not Uber – that have created New York City’s cab problems. Since the New York City taxi medallion market crashed in 2014, 950 cab drivers have declared bankruptcy, mostly blamed on Uber and Lyft. But, a damning report from The New York Times reveals that ridesharing companies weren’t responsible for New York’s cab crash — instead, it was industry insiders who systematically drove up the price of medallions.
New York City created taxi medallions in 1937 to cap the number of taxis, creating a market where medallions were exchanged like stocks. But between 2002 and 2014, brokers, lawyers, fleet owners, and debt collectors drove up medallion prices to increase profits. Although medallion prices quintupled from $200k to more than $1m, cab drivers’ salaries stayed the same, so lenders offered drivers predatory loans to buy medallions.
Lending companies targeted low-income immigrants who didn’t understand the terms, suckering cab drivers making $30k into $1.7m loans. Some drivers who often spent half their income paying off these loans — took their own lives. Yet the “taxi tycoons” who sold them their medallions made huge amounts of money.
How did manipulative medallion merchants avoid scrutiny? This was easy — they directed all the blame at Uber and Lyft, whose negative reputations made them easy targets. Since Uber arrived in New York in 2011, cab revenues have fallen 10% due to the new competition. But medallion prices have lost more than 90% of their value.
Last year, New York City officials capped the number of rideshares allowed in the city in an apparent effort to protect cab drivers. But behind the scenes, city officials helped create the medallion mayhem by advertising medallion sales — which earned $855m for the city under mayors Bloomberg and de Blasio — and then turning a blind eye to extortionate lending.
How many taxi drivers does it take to change a light bulb? Two. One to screw it in and one to overcharge for the bulb