The Globe reports Police Commissioner William Evans is reconsidering his initial decision to let Edward Tutunjian transfer his taxi medallions to his family before pleading guilty to tax evasion.
The city should reclaim the medallions and do what they should have been doing all along: Offer them as 1 year leases to drivers who have the option to renew the lease but can not resell or transfer the medallion. If the medallion is not used for more than 21 days it should automatically be transferred back to the city to be leased to someone new. No single person or company should be able to hold more than one lease at a time.
Some dotcoms, like Uber, are becoming billionaires by circumventing medallion programs and exploiting desperate drivers.
But the medallion program isn't working either, and now the people who played by the rules (taxi medallion owners, and, sometimes, their sharecropper drivers) are all getting screwed because of the handouts to Uber and the like.
Fix the medallion program, even if that means it goes away, so that the playing field is level for everyone.
While you're at it, make rules that let drivers keep most of their fares, not have to hand much of it off to a dotcom or taxi company.
In order to make medallions obsolete, we need to put in place a buy back that doesn't benefit old school medallion hogs but the drivers. Like NY we're an old neighborhood where the ownership of such licenses are concentrated around rich Italians.
Create a free market system where these immigrates can work for themselves and the end users can save money.
Win win! It's not the 80's anymore.
Uber is winning because it innovated. They taxi industry has operated the same way since taxis became commonplace. They didn't want to put credit card machines into their cabs either. Taxis could have created an app that allowed people to call on demand. Taxis could have cleaned up the smell of the car and it could have clean shaven, groomed drivers.
I agree that the medallion system is a complication in the whole scheme, but let's be clear that medallions or no, Uber has a better, more innovative product that gives consumers what they want.
People like the apps and the payment convenience, but they also like the lower prices. The lower prices were enabled by Uber marching into each city and simply ignoring the existing medallion and licensing programs. And also by putting most of the costs onto drivers, dictating the rate and the driver's cut (and then lowering the driver's cut).
If you don't genuinely reform (not handouts, backroom deals, and poorly-informed legislation), you're just handing a monopoly from one oppressive overlord to another. And in dotcom cases, an overlord that isn't even local.
The reason they could fight against credit card systems and basically ignore innovation is because of the medallion system which allowed for the creation of fiefdoms which were unassailable within the laws of the system.
UberX ignored the laws of the system. It pretended it was "ride sharing" like the drivers aren't taxi drivers, they're just guys who happened to be going your way and were willing to use the spare seats of their car to take you somewhere, friend. It is a bullshit scam. They pretended to just be a software company helping people find people who have extra seats and just happen to be going that way. They're not a taxi company, all they do is make software! Again, a bullshit scam. They're bullshit stacked upon bullshit that got financial and legal backing from huge investors that basically backed the states up against the walls because of the insane difference in public opinion between Web 2.0 Uber awesome cool company and that shithead who rents taxis to foreigners and robs all of us blind.
It's an absolute scam, but it worked and it's become legitimized as a result...even as there are laws that basically outlaw what they're doing but nobody willing to take them on. Every time someone has menaced that they would (e.g. San Franciso), Uber has changed its ways to bypass the problem. "We have drivers that didn't tell their insurance company they're driving commercially and one of them killed a girl? Oh, well, we'll create a blanket policy for a billion dollars to cover those incidents, please don't sue us for being an unlicensed taxi company...you can even make a law and tell all the other cities they should make a law saying we have to insure our drivers if they, you know, screw up and don't follow the insurance policy rules."
Uber (and many other "sharing economy" companies) shirk the law and hide behind bullshit excuses for why they didn't think they had to follow them. The law-abiding (if horrendously evil) companies lose. The public loses in ways they don't realize while benefiting in very tangible ways so they support the new guy. The government loses because it turns into a toothless complicit bagholder for a corporation. And if you do the economics, even the drivers who benefit from not having to follow all the laws and potentially even ignore many other requirements in the law, like reporting taxes, lose because they are mortgaging their personal items (car, home, etc.) for shit gains (insert videos of ex-drivers doing the math to show you they can't get above water even when they drive 40+ hrs a week).
So, who wins? Uber. And only because they straight up ignore the law or bypass the individual lawsuits or wrap themselves up in a shield of shallow-minded patrons who only see the benefits and not the losses of what Uber gives them.
Blow up the medallion system and turn it into licensing for the drivers (not the fleet managers) and see how fast Uber *actually* has to innovate.
Kaz is right.
If only officials had even half the understanding and backbone.
Uber needs to be slammed to the pavement.
And millennial voters need to stop being such self-congratulatory airheads, and actually understand the issues.
Uber is succeeding because their drivers will actually show up. Before Uber it was a near miracle to get a cab to show up in Dorcehster or not kick you out because you requested to go to Dorchester.
Q for a lawyer-type: if the city was to make such a change that would modify the existing medallion system as to effectively abolish it, would the medallion holders have a plausible case for compensation as a takings claim under the 5th/14th amendment?
This comes up every so often. These aren't physical goods and the value of them is only a speculative investment based on current regulations. Just because the private market has put a value on them as the laws stand, there are no restrictions on the city for changing these laws.
If the city took ownership of the physical cabs, that would raise constitutional concerns.
So let me see, Evans needs to think twice about whether to allow a tax evader to continue to benefit from a monopoly granted by the very institution that he avoids paying taxes to? This is beyond sad.
And having BPDs in house counsel review the case. He's smart for not jumping the gun, it's Mass. You can sue people for sneezing on you.
Evens runs the BPD, not the states Dept.. of Revenue.
Tax evasion is a crime. And I believe the police get involved in crimes.
City cops "get involved" in tax crimes? Nope, that isn't how it works.
The sooner the madallions are out the better of we'll be. No more rude dispatchers saying we'll get there when we get there
Smoking N. shore ladies are the worst. "Ya hunny, you carhhh we'll be there between tonight and next week."
"Excuse me, it's been 40 minuntes, do you know when the cabs gonna be here?"
"I told you, were busy, it well be there,"
The absolute worst.
I would take a cab any day over Uber, or even use a company called Fasten. Do you know how many convicted felons drive for uber?! A lot. Uber is above the law much like these medallions apparently!
Clearly you've not noticed how many cabs are being driven by people other than the licensed driver. Borrowing cabs from friends and relatives for extra income is ramps in Boston.
I miss the gypsy cabs from JP. The Dominican drivers were always polite (for a guys who couldn't speak English) and it only cost $40 from westy to Logan. With a tip, and early, around 5 am.
They were family guys, always had thier kids car seats in the back.
What is "westy"? Is it West Roxbury, or Westport, or Westfield, or Westford, or Weston, or Westborough, or West Yellowstone, or what?
1. Borrow cab from dad
2. Take pretty girl to beach
don't take the drugs she's offering, and make sure you take off right after having sex...don't pass out in the kitchen!
Analysis would be helpful. If Davis prohibits the wife/kids from owning the medallions, and they sue, who would win?
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