Describing a taxi industry in “free fall,” a group representing medallion owners has written to Gov. Andrew Cuomo asking New York state to step in and help the industry through regulatory changes, a distressed assets relief plan and a temporary moratorium on medallion foreclosures, Crain’s New York writes. The letter was sent last Friday in advance of a rally to be held May 3 at City Hall at which medallion owners will protest what they say has been inaction on the part of Mayor Bill de Blasio and the Taxi and Limousine Commission and will call on the governor to intervene.
The taxi industry’s struggles have come into sharp relief in recent weeks following the sale of a medallion for the lowest price this century and a hearing on driver economics that drew an overflow crowd at the TLC’s offices.
In its letter, the Taxi Medallion Owners & Drivers Association blames the industry’s troubles on the surge over the past three years in the number of ride-hail vehicles, notably Uber’s, and the failure of the city to apply regulations to the newcomers that would have made for a level playing field.
“Here, in an environment where the legitimate interests of taxi medallion owners has been undermined by the callous disregard of elected officials, your intervention is needed in order to restore fairness,” wrote Sohan Gill, president of the association. A spokeswoman for Cuomo said the governor’s office would be reviewing the letter.
A spokeswoman for the TLC acknowledged that taxi owner-drivers have been hurt by app-based competition, and cited recent rule changes that have been made to give them more flexibility. Those changes include the elimination of a mandate that had required “thousands of medallion owners to personally drive their taxis,” she wrote in an email. “We continue to meet with stakeholders, including owners and lenders, to see where else we can create a meaningful difference.”
Gill went on to describe a regulatory system in disarray, with taxi medallion foreclosures reaching “new and alarming heights.” Comparing the situation to the 2008 financial crisis, he wrote that banks and credit unions were looking for bailouts while “medallion owners struggle to preserve what they achieved through a lifetime of hard work.” He requested an emergency meeting to address the issues.
Read more (including the letter on Crain’s and Scribd)… http://www.crainsnewyork.com/article/20170428/TRANSPORTATION/170429864/taxi-medallion-owners-seek-gov-andrew-cuomos-help
• Taxi medallion owners cry for help.