|Yellow Cabs. Photo by John Han.|
According to Yellow Cab, the City's largest taxi fleet has had about 25 medallions switch to Affiliate as a result of the Medallion Sales Pilot Program. That's with about 84 medallions sold so far, with more to come.
That's okay if you happen to be one of the new medallion buyers. In fact, it might be a version of the American dream. It could also be pretty cool if you're one of the drivers hired on by those Affiliates.
But if you're Yellow Cab, or if you're a gate and gas taxi driver there, that's starting to mean some uncertainty. The landscape of the industry is clearly changing. And the industry has to decide what to do. Morning shift drivers at the company are now having to come in, for example, on Wednesday in order to work on Thursday. I'm confident Yellow Cab's management could confirm this. Why?
Because most new drivers on day shifts, for example, start off with Saturday and Sunday shifts only. That's by company mandate. They're typically given two shifts a week and then are told that they may come in on their days off and work unassigned shifts to make up more hours.
This may seem harsh against workers looking to start off with full time hours, and it is harsh.
However, an upside is that it offers flexibility to others. Conceivably, drivers can work seven days a week under this method. That's how it's worked for a long time up until now.
Under the Medallion Sales Pilot Program, the drivers coming in on a Wednesday to play the 5 AM lottery, for example, are finding out more often than not that the company no longer has enough medallions to get everyone out.
With twenty-five medallions switched to Affiliate, the company now can get only some of those drivers out on a regular basis.
The rest must go home but will subsequently be given priority on the following Thursday morning as carry overs.
So a common expression now amongst drivers is, "in order to work on Thursday, we must show up at 5 AM to play lottery on Wednesday," and, "to work three or four days a week, we must come in to the company seven days a week and try."
If anyone is wondering why you never see these kinds of drivers at meetings, it may be because they're at the cab yard waiting and hoping to earn a day's income. If they happen to get out in a cab, they're not going to sacrifice that time in a meeting. And if they don't get out, they're still probably not going to be encouraged to go to a meeting, even if they should.
Yellow has just posted a notice informing drivers that there will be no more 5 AM Thursday lottery because the spill over of drivers from Wednesday's lottery is too numerous. Some drivers claim that they showed up at 5 AM on Wednesday and were carried over as far as the following Friday.
Not that the City cares.
What should grab the City's attention though, is that Yellow Cab says this is a concern for the company itself. If the trend continues where the company's medallions keep switching to Affiliates, the company could be in serious financial trouble.
Everyone who's been paying attention knows this. It's only a matter now of whether the City and everyone else cares if Yellow survives or not, or if it gets plunged into being nothing more than a dispatch service.
Finally, I was recently offered a choice of full-time or part-time schedule with an Affiliate who made a kind offer. I was even offered my choice of days. Now, EVERY SINGLE DRIVER that I've talked to who drives for an Affiliate or LTL says it's better than driving for a company. I was flattered and very grateful for the offer.
However, Yellow's policy is you can't drive for the company as gate and gas, and drive for an Affiliate at the same time. Although I was grateful to the owner, I respectfully turned down his offer in favor of remaining loyal with the cab company. I hope Yellow's management would recognize this, as I am much more expendable to them than they are to me.