One cannot imagine a city in this world without a taxi service. How would people get by and reach their destinations when they couldn’t drive themselves? The approach of transport like buses and locomotives don’t always operate in accordance with our preferences. Taxi traveling is usually the most preferred way of transport. Hiring a taxi is the go-to solution for individuals searching for a hassle-free travel experience.
It is an industry that provides the foundation upon which a city’s economy can grow. And the ones running this industry are solely the taxi drivers. Ted Landsmark, distinguished Professor of Public Policy and Urban Affairs at Northeastern University talks about this valuable workforce that “provide services at times of the day when many other people don’t want to work” and the emerging financial crisis hanging over taxi owners in the New York City.
Without taxi drivers, Landsmark says, the people who work in the wee hours of the morning, or the people who just spent an evening in a local club, or the people who work the graveyard shift at a manufacturing plant wouldn’t be able to get where they’re going and back. “Their service is a very needed service,” Landsmark says, “because many cities find it difficult to provide off-hour transportation.”
The crisis affects the people who wish to purchase city permits, known as medallions, that allows a driver to own a yellow cab instead of working for someone else in New York City. A series of bills were passed by members of the New York City Council in June 2019 that will address this financial crisis and will eliminate as much as $10 million in fees to medallion owners and extend a moratorium on adding new Uber and Lyft vehicles to the city. These taxi medallions were only introduced to allow city officials to be able to regulate traffic congestion by making only a certain number of permits available. New York, currently has 13,587 medallions circulating whereas Boston, conversely, has only 1,825. The strict limit means that city officials can control how many cars are on the roads.
“While the taxi drivers provide a service to city residents who need to get around while public transportation is shut down, those residents, in turn, are responsible for keeping key industries running, even at odd hours,” says Landsmark.