When New York City was granted the go to sell 18,000 green taxi permits at $3,000 each, it was well before the roaring wave of Uber and other ride-hailing services.
Well, according to the New York Daily News, three years later, the Big Apple still has nearly 4,000 permits that haven't been sold from the first batch offered, with only hundreds of interested buyers. The New York City tabloid cited the Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) as saying that only about 700 people have an appointment to buy a permit.
The Daily News further adds that, even if the TLC is able to move those permits, it would still have a total of 6,000 to sell. This is far from the results that the city and the TLC desired when the permits were initially offered.
Then again, Uber has destroyed plenty of dreams with its ride-hailing app, offering drivers turn-by-turn directions, allowing them to use their own vehicles for business.
"There should be 18,000 permits already outside and there's only maybe — maybe — 7,000 permits," a green taxi driver and owner of one of the permits, William Garfield, told the newspaper. "There's nothing selling, there's nothing moving."
However, TLC spokesperson Allan Fromberg disagrees with that assertion, adding that the city wanting to transform half of the entire taxi fleet into wheelchair-accessible vehicles is also slowing down the process of selling the green taxi permits.
"To say that there should be 18,000 (green taxis), that was never the intent of the law or the reality," Fromberg told the Daily News.
The city's hope is that the people interested in purchasing a permit swells in June, when any person or corporation can buy in. That's a contrast from the first three years, when only vehicle industry companies were allowed to purchase one of the permits.
Making potential green taxi drivers' lives even more difficult is the fact that the Daily News has reported that Uber and other ride-hailing services are picking up passengers off the street without having booked a commute previously, further cutting into the green cab business.
Can green taxis compete with Uber and other types of ride-hailing or sharing services?
Photo: Triborough | Flickr