Sunday, October 19, 2014

Taxi Medallion Cartel

I do not think the taxi medallions are particularly good to taxi drivers by them being compelled to work longer hours, which is not that much of a voluntary decision they would make otherwise, in my opinion. Forcing someone to behave differently shows the power of the taxi medallions on people who often struggle to make ends meet with such relatively low average annual incomes. There are many differing opinions on the internet about how taxi medallions either cause great harm or benefit, so this issue is a matter of opinion for many. In my opinion, taxi medallions cause harm to the economy by artificially limiting the number of taxis in many cities. Why should taxis be limited in number when it causes them to become very expensive and hard to find. Still, the regulations do cause great benefit by showing medallion numbers that can have the driver easily identified if there is ever a need by a rider in case there is some violation and the interior of the new taxis often have a camera mounted over the rear-view mirror for security, a dispatch radio on the console, and a credit card reader for the passengers to pay. There is even a fee for vomit cleanup to help protect the driver and there are many required stickers that would become fees for the drivers if they were not placed. Meanwhile the price of medallions have outperformed the S&P 500's stock index by far everywhere medallions exist. If the market was open then the medallions would lose their exclusivity and value, and many believe that the taxi industry would die if the right to transport the public was open to everyone.  The taxi industry without medallions would become subject to free market forces, which can be a good thing if the medallions created a cartel or monopoly that operates for its own benefit. Still, it would cause cities to lose control over the public service that is essential for any city to survive. There are many stakeholders that would stand to lose, but it would, in my opinion, be very beneficial to the market and the general public. Many even consider that the taxi medallion was the best investment that could have been made in the U.S. 30 years ago, so does this mean that the stakeholders have too much benefit for the taxi medallion being a sort of cartel?

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