Monday, October 30, 2006

NYC Taxi Cartel, I Mean Commission

Over the last 5 years, NYC taxi medallion prices have more than doubled from $200,000 in October 2001 to an all-time high of $450,000 in 2006! Click here for a better view of the graph above. Note that a $450,000 medallion is the license required to operate only ONE taxicab in NYC!

Why so expensive? A medallion is the membership fee to join a taxi cartel, with a strict limit on the number of members competing for business in NYC. With such high barriers to entry, and strict limits on competition, the taxi cab cartel can charge monopoly prices, which then justifies paying $450,000 to join the cartel.

According to the NYC Taxi and Limousine Commission, the official name of the NYC Taxi Cartel: "In 1937, the number of taxicab medallions was limited to those that existed at that time. By the late 1940s, this number settled at 11,787 and was capped by law. Today there are currently only 12,779 yellow medallion taxicabs operating in New York City. A new medallion is a rare opportunity."

Yes, a rare opportunity to join a cartel. Membership has its privileges.

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