Green Cabs or Yellow Cabs?
The mayor of NY City, Michael Bloomberg, announced a 20% increase in hybrid taxis EVERY YEAR in that city in less than 5 years.
The current standard taxi, the Crown Victoria, gets about 14 mpg in the city. It'll be replaced by a wide variety of new taxis, from the smaller Prius, to the Ford Escape hybrid SUV. 13,000 Taxis is a lot to replace, but apparently a 20% per year churn is about what taxi companies deal with in New York, so, basically, every new cab they buy will have to be a hybrid.
Looks like those yellow cabs might have to have a splash of green after all.
Cab Driver Retires RICH?
Forget the stock market. If you're in the possession of a NYC taxi medallion, you're sitting on a goldmine. A retiring Pakistani driver who'd been driving a cab in New York for the last 25 years sold his medallion Wednesday for a staggering $600,000 -- an all-time record for such a sale.
The medallion, which gives cab drivers the right to operate legally in the city, cost $30,000 when it was purchased in 1981. The new owner is a taxi fleet operator who already owns somewhere around 100 medallions.
Prices have been steadily rising in recent years, and at the last city-held auction, medallions fetched upwards of $500K. Experts feel that the city could bring values down to a more realistic level -- around $300,000 -- if they added 5000 new ones to the pool. Until that happens (if it happens at all), expect to see more astronomical sale values as medallions change hands. There's a limited number of the things out there, and right now, the demand appears to be off the charts.
At this rate, it's probably just a matter of time before we see a reality show about this. Flip This Medallion, anyone?
Cab Strike in China
Police detained 21 people for smashing taxicabs during the latest taxi strike to hit China as more drivers took to the streets Tuesday to protest high costs and competition from illegal cabs.
The 21 detained in Sanya, a popular holiday destination on the southern island province of Hainan, were suspected of vandalizing taxis after the drivers refused to participate in the strike that began Monday, said a man from the city's Communist Party branch who would only give his surname, Li.
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Li said many cab drivers assembled in front of the municipal government office in Sanya for a second day Tuesday, but he did not give a crowd estimate. The official Xinhua News Agency put the gathering at more than 300.
"Right now, you can't see a single taxi on the roads. This causes great inconvenience to the residents and affects the city as a whole," Li said in a telephone interview. "The government is trying to solve this as soon as possible."
It was not immediately clear how many taxis were participating in the strike, but Xinhua said there are about 1,200 licensed cabs in Sanya.