Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Right to Drive a New York Taxi Now Costs $1 Million - National - The Atlantic Wire

The Right to Drive a New York Taxi Now Costs $1 Million - National - The Atlantic Wire

New York taxi medallions for a million dollars?

When I was driving cabs in 1972 to '74 a medallion was about $40,000 if I remember correctly. Maybe $50,000. Let's say $50,000. A new Checker cost about $3,500, so the medallion cost fifteen times what the car cost. Let's see, what does a car suitable for taxi duty cost now? Might be easier to go backwards, what's one/fifteenth of a million? $66,000. I'm pretty sure that you can get a taxi automobile for less than that.

I need more information, I don't even know how much per mile a taxi ride is these days in the Big Apple. When I was driving it was fifty cents a mile, and the drop was fifty cents.

The big difference now is the driver's employment situation. When I was driving, I paid for nothing. No charge to drive the car, no paying for gas. I was a straight-up employee, I picked up the car and turned it in at the end of the shift. I turned in all of the money that was on the trip-sheet at the end of the night, and once a week I got a paycheck for half of my bookings. (Fifty-one percent? Forty-nine percent? One of those. I forget.) Now, the driver has to "lease" the car from the owner, the driver is an independent contractor. The driver has to pay some exorbitant amount just to make the owner money. The driver works for the first few hours to pay the lease fee. And the driver pays for gas too. A hundred to a hundred and fifty miles per shift, what's that? Ten gallons or so at $4.00 per? Another forty dollars.

I suppose they make a living, so maybe I shouldn't worry. I mean, you can get a million dollars for a medallion!

The guys in Bangkok have the same new deal by the way. They pay about 750 Baht to lease the car, and they pay for the gas too. Gas costs four dollars a gallon here too, about a dollar a liter. The cost of taking a cab hasn't changed for fifteen years or so, so it's a real bargain now for the customers. And no tips! Not usually anyway. Most Thais don't tip. In fact, I've seen lots of people just throw the guy forty Baht if the meter says forty two. When I tip them, sometimes they try to hand me back the money as I'm getting out. Foreigners are a mixed bag. Americans are the best tippers; Europeans blow hot and cold. Australians don't tip.

But a million dollars! Wow, that got my attention.

1 comment:

fred c said...

Actually I think the drivers here pay more than 750 Baht, maybe more like 1,250. They probably make a living, but they work for it. They mostly drive seven days a week, twelve hours a day. In this traffic, I don't know how they do it.

The fare only comes to about six Baht per kilometer, and I figured out that gas costs about three Baht per kilometer. How's that for overhead!