Ride-sharing apps are distressing traditional cab companies (and their debt).
There’s a good reason your cab driver is so cranky: His livelihood might be teetering on the edge of default. According to a recent presentation prepared for Capital One Financial Corp. investors, some 81 percent of its $690 million in loans for taxi medallions are at risk of default.
Medallions, the small metal shields affixed to the hoods of taxi cabs, are issued by the local taxi authority and effectively allow the cabs to operate legally. Owning one used to be akin to owning a gas-guzzling, money-printing machine. Medallions in New York City traded at more than $1 million in 2014, but today’s prices are about half of that.
Now the share of taxi medallion loans Capital One thinks its borrowers won’t be able to repay in full has nearly tripled over the past year, to 51.5 percent. (Another 29 percent of loans are to stressed borrowers who could be in trouble soon.)
Taxi rides to and from LaGuardia, John F. Kennedy, and Newark airports could soon get more expensive if Port Authority has it their way. In a new proposal, the agency is calling for a $4 “access fee” that would require all passengers being picked up and dropped off via car service, including Uber and Lyft. The money would then be used to fund airport enhancements, like a new taxi dispatch system, reports the NY Daily News (h/t Gothamist).
Though every other major airport in the country has a similar surcharge in place, the proposal is already being met with fierce opposition. In a letter to Governor Andrew Cuomo and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, public advocate Letitia James called for the Port Authority to abandon the proposal, stating that the $4 fee would create even more of a burden for New Yorkers.
“At a time when access to New York City’s airports is already limited, the Port Authority should be focused on improving public transportation options, not increasing burdens on consumers,” James said.
The flailing yellow-cab industry appears to be trying to blackmail the city into bailing it out — threatening to yank its wheelchair-accessible cabs off the street.
David Beier, president of the Committee for Taxi Safety, which represents 20 percent of the city’s yellow-taxi medallion agents, told The Post that medallion owners are near the breaking point.
He claims the industry’s financing is in jeopardy because a major medallion lender was taken over by state authorities last week. And owners gripe that app-based competitors, such as Uber and Lyft, are getting a free ride regarding regulations.
“Without the necessary financing in place, there may be no choice but to shut down the entire accessible-taxi program within months,” Beier said, referring to the city’s more than 1,400 specially equipped cabs.
Hundreds of standard cabs could follow suit because of the plummeting values in the taxi-medallion market, industry advocates said.
There is always a great conversations, and discussions going on at the airport and garage – so, let’s continue with our stories and discussions about the taxi business; right here!
Joining the lineup of stars in this fall’s must-see films: A young Robert De Niro.
“Taxi Driver,” the Martin Scorsese classic starring De Niro as Travis Bickle, is coming back to NYC theaters to celebrate the film’s 40th anniversary. It’ll screen for two days only – Oct. 16 and Oct. 19. Continue reading
Perhaps the biggest threat to the traditional yellow taxi industry doesn’t come from the newly emerging competition, but from the simple fact that riders are searching for comfortable and convenient rides. Passengers are going to gravitate towards the service that fits these needs and offers them the ability to be productive, even while in the backseat of a taxi. This has led the taxi industry to search for improvements within the taxi experience that would draw in and keep their customers.
Like any service and business out there, the taxi industry took a good look at what was working well and what wasn’t. One area that received quite a bit of feedback from both drivers and passengers was the Taxi TV that has been embedded in the back of yellow taxi cabs across New York for a good decade. While the idea of having a tv in a taxi sounded like a good idea at the time, it slowly turned into something that annoyed passengers with their repetitive ads and inability to turn off or mute. To replace the tvs and to offer passengers a more desired high-tech experience, the taxi industry is rolling out a new gadget in 2017: tablets.
Evgeny “Gene” Freidman is the man who BusinessWeek called “The Taxi King” and is the owner and operator of the largest Taxi fleet in New York City. But his kingdom has recently begun to fall.
According to court documents, in the morning on August 24, 2016, City Marshals evicted Taxi Club Management, one of Freidman’s Taxi companies, from its commercial space on 10th Avenue as they owed more than $77,000 in rent to the landlord.