Cab fares around Manhattan can be ridiculous, that's expected. But imagine paying more than $1 million just to own a licensed taxi in New York City. That's the reality now.
The New York Times reported that the city's first taxi medallion auction since 2008 netted $200 million for the sale of 200 of the licenses, making the average price of entry to legally drive one of the roughly 15,000 yellow cabs is almost double what it was at that last auction. The medallion system goes back to the 1930s and was designed to keep the number of cabs limited to a sustainable amount.
In another sign of the times at the auction, two medallions sold as a "mini-fleet" went for a record $2.5 million, also roughly twice as much as in 2008.
Taxi commissioner David Yassky told the Times the industry was becoming "winner take-all" and that the idea of a taxi driver actually being able to own his or her taxi company one day is becoming increasingly difficult.
Of course, the taxi commission views it as an indication of the strength of the cab business and the economy, so there's that. But to put into perspective how strong the business is, one of these individual medallions is roughly five times the price of starting a Quizno's franchise.
So, if you're looking for a career change, maybe you should learn how sandwiches are made instead of driving a taxi.