Call it the Uber effect: A record 139 New York City taxi medallions will be up for sale in bankruptcy auction this month as cab drivers continue to struggle to compete with ridesharing apps.
According to The New York Post, bidders will be able to snag some of the medallions for a fraction of their original value — some might have cost their owners as much as $1 million or more apiece. Back in 2013, a medallion went for $1.3 million.
Today, however, prices have dropped to between $160,000 to $250,000 each due to increasing competition from ridesharing apps such as Uber and Lyft.
Last year, 46 medallions were reportedly sold at an auction in Queens for an average price of $186,000, bought by Connecticut-based hedge fund MGPE. This month, a minimum of 20 will be sold.
Rideshare vehicles in New York have risen from 50,000 in 2011, when Uber first entered the New York market, to currently about 130,000.
As a result, earnings for yellow cabbies have dropped, with full-time average annual earnings, before taxes, down from $45,000 as recently as 2013, to as low as $29,000 today.
Earlier this year, a report revealed that Uber and Lyft have become more popular than yellow and green cabs in NYC.
Analysis of data from the Taxi and Limousine Commission from blogger Todd Schneider found that in February 2017, ride-hailing services made 65 percent more pickups than taxis did. And the two companies combined now make more pickups per month than taxis did in any month since the data began being analyzed in 2009.
“Over the past 4 years, ride-hailing apps have grown from 0 to 15 million trips per month, while taxi usage has only declined by around 5 million trips per month,” wrote Schneider.
The data also shows that ridesharing services have been utilized more than taxis in the outer boroughs since the beginning of 2016 — and that gap has dramatically widened in recent months. In fact, Uber and Lyft are ten times more popular than yellow and green taxis combined in the outer boroughs.