Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Taxi News: New York City & Local

Regular readers might remember my entry of a few months' past concerning the taxi situation in NYC.  Why should any Seattle taxi fellow or gal  be interested in the taxi shenanigans of the Big Apple?  Well obviously NYC is the industry leader. Not Chicago or LA or San Francisco, and certainly not modest Seattle despite all of the too many local government officials who think otherwise.  They are wrong.  Seattle & KC & the State of Washington are just an industry afterthought. You might have seen recent billboards (they call them "hoardings" in England) asking the question why certain ailments are particularly prevalent in the NW.  Is it the water, the rain, etc.  Yes, just why does everyone governmental think we are big stuff?  Mystery to me!

Anyway, getting back to New York City, Governor Andrew Cuomo & Mayor Michael Bloomberg have just announced that compromises have been reached and the grand plan to expand real and actual taxi service to the outer boroughs and Northern Manhattan will now be implemented.  You might also recall that the governor's father Mario is on the board of something that finances medallions.  I bet they are going to get a big slice of the upcoming medallion pie but perhaps I am just cynical and jaded, and you know what, I am!

Here is the plan as it was reported in the New York Times.  18,000 livery (we call them"for-hire cars" in Seattle & KC) permits will be issued, 20 percent reserved for wheelchair-accessible vehicles.  These new livery "cabs" will have meters, credit card readers and honest-for-goodness top-lights.  They will also have the ability to pick up flagging customers in the outer boroughs.  To sweeten the taxi pot, NYC will also issue 2000 new wheelchair-accessible (Yellow Cabs) medallions, which NYC expects to bring in one billion dollars in a spirited bidding war.  That should make Mario Cuomo's friends at Medallion Financial quite happy.  But in a display of benevolence, NYC will provide up to 54 million dollars in subsidies for the livery folks.  Do the math and please don't laugh nor question the fairness or transparency.  She who can't be mentioned did the medallion math and she believes the 2000 medallions will be going for about $500,000 each, which adds up to one billion, we think.  Not being bankers, we don't usually toss around such large figures in our minds. Oh to be the ONE percent!  The Metropolitan Taxicab Board of Trade, the group representing the current medallion owners are taking a wait & see attitude and of course licking their taxi chops!

So  hey! all of you serious Seattle taxi drivers, those livery cabs sound like a viable opportunity to make some real money.  You might want to head East, you taxi beasts!


Be aware that Sea-Tac ground transportation has gone berserk and have begun issuing unwarranted tickets on the airport ticket level.  No, not the Port of Seattle Police but the entity calling itself ground transportation.  Whoever or whatever they are, do not, and I repeat, do not linger on the upper level.  If you have to continue doing your credit card processing, move to the far end past the last ticket counters, past British Air.  But don't tarry there either.  Get your paperwork done and get the heck out of there!

Soon in the upcoming year you will be hearing about the L&I rate hearings being held by the Seattle City Council.  Attend these hearing and tell them you are not employees!  If they insist that we are, then say, where is our health insurance?  Stay tuned!


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