The City Council is weighing a serious bailout of the yellow-cab business, with potential restrictions and surcharges on rivals akin to Uber and Lyft.
Several dozen beleaguered taxi-medallion house owners flocked to a council Transportation Committee listening to Monday to complain that the experience-share apps have triggered a 90 % drop within the worth of their medallions.
They say that the town ought to by no means have allowed Uber, Lyft and others to function with out the identical charges and laws to which taxis are topic and that the presence of almost 70,000 experience-share automobiles is killing their capacity to earn a dwelling.
“Uber shouldn’t be above the law,” stated medallion proprietor Gloria Guerra.
She and her husband, William, bought their taxi medallion for $86,000 in 1984. They deliberate to promote it to fund their retirement. But the medallions, which have been promoting for about $1.three million in 2011, at the moment are nearly unsalable.
“The number of taxis are limited, but Ubers 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 stated.
The committee stated it might contemplate launching a activity drive and a six-month research on the experience-share packages’ impression on the business.
One measure the panel will think about is capping the full variety of automobiles operated by Uber and different experience-share apps.
The committee can also be contemplating serving to medallion house owners with a money bailout funded partly by surcharges on any livery automotive — together with letting every medallion cowl two taxis as an alternative of the present one and easing up on disabled-entry necessities.
Whatever the town does, it has to do it quick, stated Richard Lipsky, spokesman for the Taxi Medallion Owners and Drivers Association, who added that he was shocked that the council waited for 4 years after Uber arrived to carry a listening to on learn how to assist taxis.
“It’s about time, and let’s hope it isn’t too late,” stated Lipsky. “As we speak, thousands of medallion owners are either in foreclosure or facing financial ruin.”