Recent ridesharing market expansion has caused current taxi owners to lose their medallion’s value. Taxi drivers in New York City have seen a decrease of 17-20% from 2013. A taxi medallion can cost anywhere from $250,000 in San Francisco to up to $1.05 million in New York City. Controversy is being created considering individuals can pursue a career in ridesharing for a relatively low startup cost compared to the legal fees required to enter into the taxi market.
Although this is bad for current taxi drivers, declining medallion prices can lead to increase in the number of future drivers if cities continue to abolish the limit of taxi permits as San Diego City Council accomplished late November. Numerous cases of cities taking action to increase taxi competitiveness can already be seen across the nation. For instance, this week the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency Board of Directors decided to lower fees for taxi drivers attempting to sell their medallions, reduced regulations for the age and mileage used for taxicabs, and temporarily waived charges for taxicabs that have wheelchair ramp accessibility.
Kate Toran, San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency Taxi Director, said:
“For San Francisco taxicabs to remain viable as a transit mode for customers and a business for drivers, current regulations must be changed to allow more flexibility for the industry to grow and eventually thrive”.
The current trend of increased regulation for the ridesharing industry and decreased required startup capital for taxi drivers will eventually lead to a level playing field.