gasp! I need some air, and was searching for it at - of all places- on google, semi-geek that I am, when I came across this website. Not quite what I was looking for, but refreshing nevertheless.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

NYC Taxi Trivia

Recently, I came across a little factoid in Time Magazine that said that the winning bid for a taxi medallion in NYC was currently $300,000. That got me wondering what is it, and what it means, and what's normal. So here's what I discovered, through the web and through cab talk with a Punjabi cabbie I met yesterday:

  • Homepage of the Taxi and Limousine Corporation
  • List of (tentative) current winning bidders, showing the top bids to be $360,000 (!!) at the time of this post, while the last winning bid is $332,000+. This is a one-time purchase cost of the medallion.
  • In comparison, the winning bids for alternative fuel medallions are around $220,000, and corporate medallions (black cars?) are in the range of $775,000 - $815,000.
  • Medallions are required to drive cabs. Each cab has one medallion
  • Medallions are usually held - by the thousands - by a few rich investors. My cabbie said a lot of them were Jewish, but I have not confirmed that information. The investors don't drive cabs. The cab drivers may be investing, but that's beyond the scope of this article.
  • People take upto 30 year mortgages on the medallion. It's like a house. At $350,000+, no wonder.
  • If you want to drive a cab, you need a cab, and a medallion. I'm not sure how to get the cab - at $25,000 for a Crown Victoria and $350,000 for a medallion, I hope the cab comes free with the medallion. Anyway, you can rent - weekly rent for medallions (with cab?) are about $600, and daily rates are about $135. That's per shift. Each shift is 12 hours, typically 5 to 5. Which is why I can't find any cabs around 4-6 in the evening, as everyone is changing shifts.
  • An average day for a cabbie can earn anywhere from $200 to $500. Depends on luck. My driver had a stroke of good luck- in the first 2 hours of his shift, he did 2 runs to Newark airport, $160 + tips down the hatch.
  • The business is picking up after a slump after 9/11, and my cabbie said there's no way he's going back to the 9-to-5. Advantages include working whenever he wants to, earning more when he works harder, and the complete independent style - to quote, "If I want to go home, all I need to do is put my off duty light on, and go - no one can stop me". I like that style. It's got an attitude. Also, the money is much better than a software desk job.
  • Here's another interesting website on the topic, the NYCabbie.


Blogger kriti said...

saw your link in the kgp bloggers community.

loved the layout of your blog.. would like to know how you got it to look like this...

as much as i could understand it's on blogger though the link says otherwise. i especially liked the icons of the pics.

my blog is at

November 23, 2004 4:21 AM


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