Lyft, Uber Et Al Impact US Medallion Market
Transportation network companies like Lyft and Uber are making an impact on the United States livery market, particularly in cities where medallions are sold.
The New York Times reports the price of medallions in cities such as New York, Chicago, Boston and Philadelphia are falling as more people opt to use TNCs to get around, leading drivers to wonder why they should bother purchasing or leasing a medallion at all. In New York, the price for one of the 13,437 medallions available fell 17 percent between the spring of 2013 and October of this year, landing at $872,000. Philadelphia, meanwhile, can’t sell a single medallion for its asking price of $475,000, and aims to try again at $350,000.
Nailing down how things are proves to be difficult, due to the low number of sales/leases, or posting inaccurate numbers by omitting most sales. For New York, it’s the latter; they omit sales that go for $10,000-plus below the previous month’s average. Over in Chicago, weekly lease rates for medallion taxis are falling alongside the number of medallion sales in the Windy City, while others jump-ship to Uber or Lyft.
Drivers in New York also face a challenge from the new green “boro taxis” that serve fares in northern Manhattan and the boroughs surrounding Manhattan, with medallion owners having gone as far as the courtroom to rein in the green taxis, only for the ruling to fall in favor of the defendant.