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(Note from the blog's publisher: With San Francisco's medallions being put up for sale, and with cab company reps openly pushing for more medallions... even for corporate medallions, I thought it'd be interesting to link to this article about what could be happening with taxicabs in Washington D.C. By linking to this article, I'm not necessarily promoting "deregulation", but it brings up some interesting points that could help reflect on our own industry. Hopefully, it'll make a good read and viewing for your weekend. This article was published by Reason TV. The link was sent in by a driver. Thanks for reading Taxi TownSF. John Han.)
by Reason TV
Washington, D.C. is considering a bill that would require every cab driver in the city to own a special permit called a medallion. The total number of medallions would be capped at 4,000, which would reduce the current number of cabs by more than one-third and put thousands of drivers out of business. (The city government has no idea how many licensed cabs are in the district, though estimates range from 6,500 to 10,000.)
If that weren’t bad enough, most drivers wouldn’t have the option of buying a medallion. The first set of medallions would be offered for sale to the minority of cabbies who have been driving for at least five years and who live in Washington D.C. (Again the city government has no idea how many current drivers meet this criteria, but rising real estate prices and weak city services have led many drivers to leave the district.)
Who will be offered the next set of medallions, according to the bill? That would be cab companies, who could then rent medallions to drivers. This system would destroy the relatively open-access taxi industry in D.C., in which the majority of drivers are owner-operators free to make their own schedules and keep whatever money they earn on the job. In cities such as New York and Boston, drivers pay upwards of $800 a week to rent their medallions.
Cab riders would also suffer under the new regime.