As ride-sharing services continue to flourish, New York City taxi drivers have formed their own association to ensure they don’t get run over. Their rallying cry? Equity in pricing and regulation among all services.
Last month, Uber won a major battle in New York City, successfully fighting a cap on the number of drivers. After a barrage of pro-Uber ads and driver rallies, Mayor Bill de Blasio backed down—for now, at least—on regulating the number of Uber drivers on NYC streets as a means of easing traffic congestion.
But the war is decidedly not over.
On Wednesday, a group of taxi medallion owners rallied at City Hall, voicing their dismay at the unfettered growth of Uber and other ride-sharing services, which don’t have to follow the same rules and regulations as traditional taxis. The newly formed Taxi Driver-Owner Association, started by medallion owner Sohan Gill, organized the event.
“If one entity can engage in surge pricing, why can’t the individual medallion owners do that, too?” said Norman Siegel, an attorney who represents the medallion owners, in an AP article. “If one entity has apps, why can’t they have apps?”
Uber Growth Hurting Medallion Prices
In the four years Uber has operated in New York City, the number of drivers it employs has ballooned to 25,000, compared with 13,000 city taxis. The number of taxis is strictly controlled by the limited number of medallions in circulation, which is overseen by the city Taxi & Limousine Commission (TLC).
The increasing number of taxi drivers who are now driving for Uber or other ride-sharing services appears to have driven down the value of medallions: A medallion cost $1 million in 2013 but is valued at less than $800,000 now. As a result, taxi driver Iqbal Singh says he can’t sell his two medallions because banks are no longer willing to finance the loans for their purchase.
TLC Commissioner Meera Joshi says he has reached out to the association and wants to meet to discuss member concerns.