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Wednesday, November 26, 2014


yo mobil, 2011 show car for speculative Russian auto company
Not a cab, but I'd go for a ride.

A few weeks ago younger son was het up about driving for Uber, the gypsy cab company, telling me how much money he could make. Haven't heard much in that vein lately. That's okay, he's young, he's easily enthused and that's good.

The thing about cab companies (and tow truck companies, and beauty parlors in some places) is that they are licensed by the state (as in the local governing authority, probably not the state government). Those licenses effectively confer a monopoly on that line of work and those licenses become valuable. In New York City, last time I checked, taxicab medallions cost around $70,000. If you put up seventy large you are going to want to get a return of at least ten grand a year, which is $200 bucks a week. While not a fortune, it makes a big impact on how much a cab driver takes home.

The one time I was in England we saw a bunch of those iconic black London taxicabs running around, even caught a ride in one once. Can't say I was impressed. Pretty much beat to death, like a 50 year old Checker, but without the Checker's comforting mass. Called for a cab when we were leaving and some tiny little Japanese car showed up at the door. At first I didn't think it would hold us and our luggage, but no problem. There was no sign of a meter or a license, so I surmise that London has had an underground cab empire for quite a while.

Inspired by a post on Dustbury.


Ole Phat Stu said...

In London it is quite legal. Besides Hansom cabs (aka Taxis) there are Private Hire Vehicles. You need a special licence to drive those as well, have to take a medical, have no police record, take a test on London topography, tc. There are application forms online if you want the details.
You may not hail a PHV, only a cab.
PHVs only via a prior phone call afaik.

Ortan Steve said...
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