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Boston’s Cabs Are Most Expensive Anywhere

(PnP!/Flickr)

(PnP!/Flickr)

Ever feel like it’s more expensive to take a cab in Boston than in other cities? It’s not your imagination. For most types of trips, Boston has the highest cab fares of any big city in North America.

Radio Boston begins a two-part series, in which we try to figure out why fares are so high and what, if anything, can be done to bring them down.

The data in the charts below were provided by TaxiWiz.

Trapped In The Pool

The next time you land at Logan Airport and get a little impatient waiting for a cab to take you home, remember that your cabbie has probably been waiting for you a lot longer. While you were returning your tray table to its upright and locked position, he was on the ground, trapped in a kind of taxi limbo.

“There’s a separate parking lot called the pool,” explains Tom, last-name-unmentioned because he maintains a rather candid blog about his profession called “Boston — The Hack.”

Like all cabbies that want to pick up a fare at the airport, Tom has to pull into a huge Massport facility that most of us will never see.

“You can’t just drive around the airport. You’ll see, it’s this whole complicated system,” Tom tells me as he drives behind the car rental lots and pulls into the pool. “You’ve actually got to pay a toll that gets charged on your Fast Pass.”

Inside, it looks like a drive-in movie theater, but it’s actually dozens upon dozens of cabs, arranged in neat queues.

“It’s like entering the fourth ring of hell,” Tom groans, dismayed at the scope of his competition. “It makes you wonder if it’s really worth it.”

Tom pulls in, takes a ticket with a number on it, and finds his space.

He turns his engine off and…

“The excitement begins,” he says, laughing.

Forty minutes later, a giant digital sign tells Tom his number is up. As instructed, he proceeds to gate B2, where he finally picks up his fare.

A young lady climbs in and asks to be taken near the Malden Center T stop.

This is what Tom goes through to pick you up. And he does it making maybe $100 on a 12-hour shift. As expensive as fares may seem, the big money is not going to him.

Nonetheless, fares are, indisputably, expensive.

The average price of one-, two- and three-mile taxi rides. Click to enlarge. (Data courtesy TaxiWhiz.com/Jeremy Bernfeld for WBUR)

The average price of one-, two- and three-mile taxi rides. Click to enlarge. (Data courtesy TaxiWiz.com/Jeremy Bernfeld for WBUR)

How Much More Expensive Is Boston?

“How much does this trip usually run you?” I ask the young lady in the back of Tom’s cab.

“I want to say around $40 total,” she says. “I was just in Chicago and it seemed like cabs were much cheaper there. My general sense is that they’re cheaper in DC, and New York City, too, but I don’t know, I don’t take cabs very often.”

Maybe not. Neither do I. But Mike DeGraw-Bertsch does. He’s the creator of Taxi Wiz, a website that provides fare estimates for 20 cities around the world (basically, all the big cities in which the government sets the rates).

“(In) lots of cities, like Miami, for example, it’s kind of up to the operator to decide what the fares are going to be,” DeGraw-Bertsch explains, as he clicks through his website. “New York, Boston, LA, cities like that have structured, metered fares so that you don’t have to contact each individual operator to find out what the fares are gonna be.”

In all the big cab towns, like Philly or Chicago, it basically works the same way.

There’s a flag drop — that is, the money you owe just for getting in the cab. In Boston, that runs you $2.60. And then there’s the per-mile charge, which Boston sets at $2.80.

The same structure applies in places like New York, Boston, and Washington, but the price tags vary dramatically.

“If you’re going three miles or more, Boston is the most expensive city that Taxi Wiz does fares for,” DeGraw-Bertsch says.

Boston cabs' flag drop costs are toward the expensive side, but the per mile rate is what drives the price up. Click to enlarge (Data provided by TaxiWiz.com/Jeremy Bernfeld)

Boston cabs' flag drop costs are toward the expensive side, but the per mile rate is what drives the price up. Click to enlarge (Data provided by TaxiWiz.com/Jeremy Bernfeld)

Some cities, like Toronto or New York, have higher flag drop fees than Boston, so the really short trips cost a little more. But once you go any real distance, Boston’s sky-high $2.80 per mile charge kicks in, making Boston the most expensive major cab town in North America.

In New York, the per mile charge is a flat $2. In Montreal, the per-mile charge is only $1.60. In DC, it’s a mere $1.50.

In Boston, the city sets the fares with input from the local cab industry. So I asked a bunch of people involved with the industry: Why are cabs so much more expensive in Boston than they are most everywhere else?

They all gave one answer in common: the medallion.

The Money Is In The Medallion

Back in the cab with The Hack, Tom gives me a quick lesson in how the cab business works.

“I pay a rental for this car. It works out to $95 for the night,” Tom explains. “Basically, I’m working to pay off my nut, the rental. Everything after that is mine.”

After gas, of course. He could probably make a lot more if he owned his own car. And I’m guessing he could afford one.

What he probably couldn’t afford is the license to operate that car as a taxi. It’s a little square plate nailed to the back of the cab. There are only 1,825 of them available for the whole city of Boston. And the last time one went up for auction, it sold for about $400,000. That’s what they call a medallion.

“There’s absolutely not economic justification for a license like that,” says Edward Rogoff, a business professor at Baruch College in New York and a longtime observer of the taxicab industry. Rogoff says the medallions are a pox.

“The delivery of taxi service to the public is not best served by a medallion system.”
– Mark Cohen, chief taxi regulator for the city of Boston

“Other than the cost of the driver, they represent the highest cost of operating the vehicle, ” Rogoff says. “They serve no economic purpose except to take income away from the drivers and to raise fares.”

The medallion system was first introduced in Boston in the 1930s. It was the Depression. A lot of people who’d lost their jobs tried to make ends meet driving a cab, and they were desperate. They crowded the streets, they undercut the market.

In response, the established cab industry lobbied government to license taxis, and to permanently cap the number of licenses. These medallions, which were originally issued for just a few bucks, have since become a commodity to be traded by investors.

A handful of people and financial institutions now own all of the medallions in Boston, which they lease to the people who actually provide taxi service.

“The delivery of taxi service to the public is not best served by a medallion system,” says Mark Cohen, director of licensing for the Boston Police Department and the chief taxi regulator for the City of Boston.

“Really?” I ask.

“Really,” he says.

I’m surprised to hear Cohen says this because, along with driver licenses, medallions are what give him power over the industry. And even he thinks they needlessly drive up fares.

“A tremendous amount of the money that goes over the meter goes to bankers and investors,” Cohen says. “It doesn’t go to cab drivers who are working very hard.”

There are car services out there that don’t need these medallions to operate. But they’re not allowed to pick up street hails, and they’re not allowed in cab stands, or in that pool at Logan Airport.

And why not? Mark Cohen at the police department is in charge of all of this, right? If he thinks the medallion system is needlessly siphoning money out of the cab industry, why can’t he just just wave his hand and say “from this day forth, no medallion required”?

“It’s an issue of property,” Cohen explained. “When they decided to have taxi medallions be worth something, the state cannot step in and just take it away because it seems like a good idea. That being said, the next alternative is to, what? Buy back the cab medallions? Well, I’m not very good at arithmetic, I’ll let you do that.”

OK… $400,000 times 1,825 medallions equals $730 million in market capitalization, which I guess…

“…is more money right now than the City of Boston can use to do that project,” Cohen says.

Something Else Is Going On Here

So, it sounds like we’re stuck with medallions.

But so are Chicago, Toronto and Philadelphia. So is New York, where a medallion recently sold for a whopping $700,000. And yet, cab fares in Boston are consistently higher than in New York.

Something else is going on here to make Boston cab fares the highest in big city North America for most trips.

Tuesday on Radio Boston, we explore other factors that put upward pressure on Boston cab fares.


Other stories from this show:

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  • John

    Lift the cap. The market should decide the number of cabs. The government should regulate safety of cabs, environmental standards, etc but not the number. They need to do the same thing for liquor licenses too. Beer is only $4 in expensive San Francisco but is $5 or $6 here. This will remove the opportunity for corruption as well.

  • John

    Buy them back at the same price they paid to the government. It isn’t our responsibility that they overpaid for them.

  • geffe

    The whole system is corrupt. I wont take a cab in Boston unless it’s really necessary. It’s way to expensive and you know what, a lot of the drivers do not know their way around the city.

  • http://blog.rbellinger.com Rob Bellinger

    This article needs to go beyond the boundaries of Boston to get at another root cause of the price problem. What’s the difference between Greater Boston and the other cities mentioned? Greater Boston has an antiquated system of municipal boundaries that divide a relatively small area into a large number of cities and towns. Since cabs here can only pick up in the municipality where they are licensed, we have cabs from Boston, Cambridge, Brookline, Somerville, Quincy, Newton, Medford, Malden, Everett, Chelsea, Revere, etc. etc. driving around empty much of the time, covering an area with a population of roughly one million. This raises costs and wreaks havoc on the environment. We should have one regional taxi system. A large city like New York has two taxi systems (yellow and livery) serving a population of over 8 million.

  • http://www.wbur.org/people/aragusea Adam Ragusea

    Rob,

    You’ve put your finger on what we’ll be talking about tomorrow. Stay tuned.

    Adam

    • http://www.pingup.com/ markslater

      Adam -

      we are a new category of apps that are trying to assist dispatchers with efficiency and provide consumers with their preferred method of communication with businesses. but we are a NO FEE app. and we work with multiple dispatchers in the area. Other apps put a “hailing fee” on top of the metered fare – boston just got more expensive if you use those apps. 

      try us out if you get a moment in boston – and feel free to reach me at mark pingup.com if you would like more info.

      thanks for the great article
      mark, CEO, Pingup

  • Lewis Pedi

    My name is Lewis Pedi and I just want to say that cab fares are about the only thing that is cheap in New York City!!

  • Matt

    Another topic for discussion: Why is Boston the only city in North America where you have to give the cab driver directions?

    • Cabbie

      You don’t if you saying you ain’t complaining up front.

  • Rakim Mohamed

    As a cab driver, i want to add to what i think is some misunderstanding with why some cab drives ask their passengers for directions. First things first, its not that cabbies don’t know where they are going, but rather, its becoz some passengers have a whining habit to evrything or some of them don’t have enough money. Some passengers will try to screw up their cab drivers by whining about the direction cab driver toke to their destination. And so to avoid those problem, cab driver ask their passengers first thing in the cab is which way they would like to go? so that even if they get into traffic the passenger can complain to the cabbie becoz they chose to go that way. For example people who live in Allston/Brighton will not tell you which way they like to go from Faneuil hall and if you to take Comm Ave all the way to Brighton and you get into traffic in Comm Ave they tell you why you did not go storrow drive or if you take storrow all the way to Brighton and you get into traffic, passenger will ask why you did not toke Comm Ave. It’s not easy being a cabbie

  • Don

    Most of that expense for a medallion is the result of speculation over the years. The state only owes the owners the original cost adjusted for inflation. So what’s wrong with the government wiping out a bunch of greedy speculators?

    Or Boston could legally flood the market with cheaper medallions, issuing 3 times the number now available and charging only $5,000 each to raise a lot of money for the city.

  • Don

    Are there any statistics on crimes committed by cabbies against their fares? I’ve heard of a few reported in the press.

  • Ero saba

    Leave alone the poor drivers-they are trying to make ends meet in a very competitive market-manipulated by medallion monopolies owners.

    The reason cab drivers refuse to take credit card is because they don’t get paid instantly and at the end of the shift they have to pay their dues with cash. Sometimes the credit card payment could accumulate from Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday and you get paid on Tuesday the following week, which is bizarre. No one talks about this facts and everyone complains that cabbies don’t take cards.

    Also, the drivers have miserable life when renting a cab from Boston Cab Company. Most of the time, they are humiliated, overcharged with false fast lane and gas cost charges that are manipulated by the owner of the company.
    Every time a driver comes to the window to rent a cab, he is required to pay balance from the previous day (overcharges that make no sense). Therefore, the rent could shot from 95 to more than 110+ depending on how the “cheating models” are formulated on that day. These problems are real and exist and you have to comply with the rules of extortion, bribery to become the fittest of survival. Most of the drivers are immigrants who don’t understand their basic rights and they get accustomed to this kind of abuse.
    All this stress and frustration that are endured by the poor cabbies get transferred to the innocent customers in terms of “circles driving” or even weird behavior that makes the customer trip uncomfortable.

  • Sarah

    Wow–are we surprised? The fares are sky-high and does the money go into the pockets of the guys who are driving the cabs? No, it goes to the “bankers and investors.” I take a lot of cabs in Boston and have met the most interesting, intelligent drivers who are generally happy to have a friendly, polite and sober person in their cab. I’ve had drivers from Haiti, Russia, Syria, Egypt, Iran and even a few native-born Americans and have had funny, fascinating conversations about politics, culture, children… This is a tough, lonely and sometimes dangerous job–how on earth can you wonder about how many cab drivers have committed crimes against their fares when we know that more often it’s the fares who rob or murder the cabbies? I also have to add that I live in a pretty obscure corner of the city and I can only think of two times that I had a driver who didn’t know the way. Let’s find a way to make it so the money goes to the guys doing the work and not the “investors” who essentially have a monopoly of the industry.

  • Gabriela

    The relity is far more complex. There is not only the “medallion monopolies owners”. Is not only Boston Cab Company there. There are also people who own one or few of these medallions, who started as cab drivers, and after years of very, very hard work, they bought their own medallion when the prices were not so height. They are still working as cab drivers today and paying their mortgages for years and years and at the end this is their retirement. You can’t just wipe out everything and make the license worth nothing now. Is to late. The process is to complicated like a lot of investments in this economy and there are too many regular people who put their lifes in this.

  • Jake Pauls

    I am an occasional business visitor to Boston and am so unhappy with the state of Boston cabs that I rarely use them. The main reason, relevant to Tuesday’s radio program, is that no matter how new the cabs or the type and size of the cars (except possibly the vans), the rear seats for the paying passengers are unbelievably cramped due the presence and positioning of the security barrier. A person of my size, 6 foot one inch stature, has a very difficult job getting in and out and, while seated, the space is punishingly small. Today, I measured it in a new Toyota cab, with dimensions feeling the same as other Boston cabs I have used. The back of front seat to rear seat was only 25 inches, seat back to seat back with only 8 inches of room for my legs. This is simply inhumane!

    Cab drivers have told me this is a City requirement. No where else is the cab passenger so badly treated. I ride the T whenever possible instead of taking a Boston cab.

    • Anonymous

       I’m taller than you and after getting off a plane where my knees have been crushed for hours a Boston cab seems relatively luxurious.

  • kimberly

    f’ing ridiculous. another reason boston is bass akwards in a million ways.

  • http://www.richerearth.com Eric McNulty

    Not only are our cabs the most expensive, they are not comfortable and the drivers often don’t know how to get you where you want to go unless you have an obvious destination such as Logan.

    Why can’t we adopt London’s system: cabs that comfortably hold 4 – 5 people and drivers who are well trained and thoroughly knowledgeable about the city in which they drive.

    • Cabbie.

      We should get a truck to fix you bunch of fats in.

  • Gus Rancatore

    This report is great. A balanced transit system would include affordable cabs. Right now we have a system that exploits often-immigrant drivers and frustrates users. I can’t wait for technology to destroy the entire system.

    • Cabbie

      Can’t wait seeing ppl like you stop taking cabs. Find a better job if things are becoming unaffordable to you.

  • http://train187.blogspot.com/ ursonate

    I’m still mad from the time that I took a taxi from the airport to North Station thinking it would be less expensive that taking it home to Lynn. Then one night my flight arrived really late at it ended up costing only about $5 more to get home. Of course if public transport ran later in the evening, then I wouldn’t have had the extra expense at all.

    • Cabbie

      We hate your short fares as much as you hate everything after an hour sitting in the taxi pool and you wanna go North End/SouthNorth Station… Next time ride a bike or wait til in the morning.

      • jagnon19911 .

        absolutely!!!! keep your short fare and walk or something. Short fares are the equivalence to impulse merchandise at the checkout and wal-mart, they are worthless bonuses on a good day.

  • Eric Herot

    They don’t have to “buy back” the medallions. That’s ridiculous. Elected officials have the authority to raise the number of available medallions and charge whatever price they want for them. There was no promise made when someone paid $600k for one that they would never have their value undercut by the sudden availability of more medallions. That’s one of the risks when you spend an exorbitant amount of money to buy something that can easily be created out of thin air.

    • jagnon19911 .

      you my friend are such an idiot its so unbelievable. Next time you buy a car or something you can call my huge BMW company i do not own and put a deposit down. When you find out i dont Own a BMW company ill just say “Well I didnt promise you anything back in the case of dissatisfaction”

  • http://www,zoneride.com darya tafreshi

    I have been the owner of the oldest cab co in Boston, Town Taxi. Our biggest problem is that Boston Taxi Industry is ran by police dept, a para-military organization not by a civil business group. Mark Cohen is total hypocryte to make a statement that, the medallion system is not the best way do deliver taxi service to public. Under Mark Cohen administartion the Medallion prices rose from $50,000 to $450,000. Mark Cohen and his colonies went above and beyond thier line of duties and use all unethical tactics they had in their arsenal to shut my 78 year old company down. I also own a company call Zone Ride Inc. Its bascially a taxicab without a meter. Riders are given a flat rate price when calling for the ride and the price will not change regardless of traffic, route taken & etc. Normally its 25% to 30% cheaper than a regular medallioned taxicab. in a kangroo court which was held by Cohen & Ciccolo, where they were the prosecutor, the judge, the jury and the hangmen, Cohen stated that, “The reason the are trying to push me out of business, is the the Zone Ride business model threathens the medallion market in Boston.” In any other cities in the world my effort to bring an more affordable atternative would been welcomed and encouraged. In Boston, they try to protect the fat cats big pockets making political contributions. Mark Cohen & Ciccolos new unlawful regulations pushed many hard working small operators out of business and pushes all revenues to big garages such a Boston Cab Company. If you need to know more call 536-5000. until then everytime you get in a Boston cab you will be supporting the fat cats that have no interest in customer service and improving taxi service but fill their pocket with speculation revenues and secure their job to a point they feel undispensible. Time to get the Cops out of our civil business and put them on the street to do what they are trained to do.

  • http://www.wbur.org/people/aragusea Adam Ragusea

    Eric,

    Indeed, the state Department Of Public Utilities has the power to raise the medallion cap, and the Boston Police Department has the power to auction off the medallions. They could decide to issue 10 million new medallions, thus effectively circumventing the statutory license cap. Or, the legislature and the governor could pass a bill changing the statute.

    However, the current medallion owners would take the government to court, arguing that such action would represent an “illegal taking” of their property under the constitution, and a couple of the experts I talked to for this story said there’s case law out there to support that argument.

  • dave

    Part of the reason for high cab fares has to be the layout of Boston-area streets. The same reason driving or taking a bus somewhere takes longer than it should – because the traffic lights are poorly coordinated and intersections are littered with far too many “no turn on red” signs and pedestrian signals that go off in the middle of the night when nobody pushed the button. Those traffic lights should be programmed to skip the pedestrian signal after a certain time of night, unless the button is pressed.

    • wolfndeer

      The article outlines why it costs as much as it does — so why are you just making up your own theory? 

  • dave

    Rob makes a good point as well. A cab from Cambridge who drives to Boston should be allowed to pick up at least one hailed fare instead of returning to Cambridge empty. Let the dispatchers and cab stands remain Boston-only but allow out of town cabs to alleviate the 2am rush where only Boston cabs can’t meet the demand. If out of town cabbies abuse the privilege and drive around another city all night, they should be penalized, but at some hours of the day it’s nearly impossible to hail a Boston cab, while Brookline and Cambridge cabs drive by empty because they just dropped off a fare in Boston.

    • Cabbie

      Do you know what you talking about? How much they paying for to drive there, way cheaper!! Also if you let them do that, they won’t go back to their town but staying in Boston dumdum.

  • Mark Fess

    Like most of the US transportation infrastructure, this is an embarrassment. Boston cab drivers don’t know where things are, their cabs are filthy and poorly maintained, and — no we learn — they are more expensive than anywhere. And yes, that’s more expensive than even London, where the cabs are roomy, clean, reliable; and the drivers know exactly where everything is. This is clearly the result of corruption and incompetence. The city officials responsible should be sacked.

    • Cabbie

      Do we look like bunch of GPS?? Sure some of the cabs aren’t nice enough to please you but you know why? PPL drink/eat/puke… we don’t have a choice but sitting in that hole for 10-12hrs a shift while you complaining a 15 mins ride. Know everything in the city, lol you kidding me?? There are 600,000+ ppl, 2000+ rest, 100+ bars, 20 some colleges in Boston Mr. Everything.

    • jagnon19911 .

      Yeah buddy ive been a cab driver going on 4 years now and gotta say you are just a poorly educatated idiot or just dont understand the cab bussiness. First off cab drivers work an between 60 and 80 hours a week to have that money they make. Cab drivers drive hundreds of miles a day sometimes. It cost $80 to fill a crown vic. (Crown vics are ex-cop cars too and you can watch the needle go down as you drive, as they are 8 cylinder POLICE vehicles) It cost $25 for oil change. Oil changes are almost weekly in a taxi. Gas is daily, hourly, and used by the second.
      The driver needs to make some money as he or she does all the dirty work dealing with people like yourself who think we just sit back and get rich.
      Then the company itself has to make a few bucks for spending all their THOUSANDS UPON THOUSANDS on a Medallion for the back of the car.
      (I just wanted to see what people have to say about us cabbies) I mean if i was as rich as everyone says a cabbie is why am a stuck driving a run down 96 chevy lumina?

      lastly for all you people who read my post and think to yourself :
      “Well why do they use Crown Victorias if they are so bad on gas” .

      Go open a taxi company with a prius, or a Camry or a any smaller car and see how long before your transmission starts slipping from the beating. Hmm i almost forgot taxi companies replace transmissions sometimes too how many have you bought?

  • Dannyboy

    In addition to heavy tolls which are added to fares high waittime charges are also incurred by patrons of the taxi service. Corruption from the top down is the cause. Embezzlement and fraud forced tolls to be collected on major road repair maintenance and construction. City officials refuse to put reasonable caps on the cost of medallions or leases because the percieved chaos creates a need for tremendous oversight. There is a whole hackney division within the Boston Police Department which is paid for by tax payers, medallion owners, and taxi drivers. Medallion owners fight for higher lease rates and Taxi Drivers fight for higher fare rates because fighting the corrupt system is futile. The high demand for Taxi service fuels the whole thung and the buck is passed on to patrons.

  • Dannyboy

    Taxi drivers are struggling for subsistencr living by working very long hours. Most drivers on weekly leases are working about 32hrs a wk just to pay the expenses of lease gas and insurance. So they work approx a ft job before they even
    begin to make money for themselves or the families they support. That being said, I suspect high fares are due to the high charges on toll roads and the high waittime charge being set(at $28 per hr to offset the high lease rates drivers face) which is added to fares. I think you will find that tolls are not as high in other cities or at the minimum there are ways to
    avoid them as there is not in Boston. Also I would like to know how the timewaiting charge, which is automatically calculated into the meterred fare, compares to other cities. For instance, I happen to know the timewaiting fee in Clevelabd is just $18 pr hr while in Boston it is $28 per hr. Si when you are stuck in traffic or sitting at a red light this makes a huge difference!!!

    • Cabbie

      The timer wouldn’t kick-in unless the cab is in a 100% full stop dumdum. How often it would happen except sitting in the light? Another word, you are paying the same money with ‘stop n go’ traffic. By the way, you think we enjoy traffic?? We wish we hear ‘can I jump out in here’ so we can turn around find a better fare.

  • http://www.montreallimousineservices.com/ Montreal Limousine

    I suggest that you take a limo rather than taxi, atleast at the very moment you know already how much you pay and in addition there are limousine services that offer low rate.

    • Cabbie

      Good luck for meeting an unknown/un-licensed driver who possible am sexual offender when you paying more.

  • http://southiecab.com Boston Cab

    Aside from the inherent problems of a Medallion based system the city seems to be working against drivers and customers to allow cab owners to make overly inflated profits. Look at the Hybrid battle. The city insists on hybrids. The owners sue in federal court and win. So in response the city allows them to place brand new non hybrids on the road and charge the drivers $18 extra per shift for them? Worse yet they allow the owner to charge the $18 for 4 years. $18x2shifts a day x365 days a year times 4 years= $52,560. Why are cab owners being allowed to make an extra $56,000 per car for not putting hybrid cars into service? What is the benefit to the driver and the environment for this $56,000?

    • http://movef.wordpress.com/ movef

      Good points. Are the $18 surcharges still in effect?

    • Cabbie

      PPL asked often why cabbie are rude, the Hackney department/Massport/dispatcher are mean and careless. Lets forget about the money first, most of us (I’m a cabbie too) are paying more than regulated. Hackney department is doing nothing to stop outside cabs stealing our fares, they “randomly” come out to stop them once maybe 2-3 weeks?? That’s my money man!!! So that’s why we hate outside town taxis especially Brookline cabs. They would pickup my fare in front of me, smile, give you a finger and take off. Massport, bunch of mean animals (except 2-3ppl are nice & smile). They yelled, mean also you are ready to be written up anytime you done something wrong or talk-back. Dispatcher, same thing. You wanna call them for help, good luck as you get hang up for just asking for additional customer information.

      When we are out there, we are totally on our own.

  • Bill

    I called  http://WWW.617taxi.com  last weekend and I only paid $6.40 from Cambridge to the South end.

    • CCTV

      What’s your point?? 617taxi’s meters ran slower? Its all about the distance, felt bad that the csbbie had to come pick you up for a $6.40 fare LOL.

  • G Armstrong

    I live in metrowest.  Tried to reserve a taxis from Town Taxis of Framingham from home to Logan Express in Framingham.  They refused me service because “that location is too dangerous, we do not go there.”  That location is a shopping mall!  Too dangerous?  Literally thousands of mothers and wives, teeange girls and children pass this location every day without incidence of danger or fear.  What a crock!  Please boycott this business.

    • CCTV

      They do not want your fare dumdum. I bet they would come if you take it all the way to the airport.

    • Pizlam1

      Try http://www.cambridge-taxicab.com  They can be reached at 617-649-7000

  • Joeb267

    I live in Cambridge and I use http://www.Cambridgetaxi.com and they take credit cards no big deal. Only bad thing is they don’t pickup outside of Cambridge.

  • Anonymous

    How would dropping the cost of medallions by issuing more or dropping the system completely constitute a “taking of property”?  That is like Rolls Royce owners suing because the company decided to mass produce them and now their cars are only worth a fraction of what they paid.  The government is under no obligation to protect your investment.

  • http://limbodog.livejournal.com/ limbodog

    Yeah, I’m not understanding the logic to this either.  So people paid $400k for a medallion.  That’s fine.  But the next time you issue one, you do it by lottery, not by auction.  And then charge a base fee for the winner of the lottery.  Remove the expense of medallions by attrition.  Where’s the problem?

  • guynoir

    Gee,  government protection of monopoly business drives the cost up? I’m shocked, SHOCKED I tell you.
    Replace MEDALLION with GOVERNMENT and you’ve got most of the answer.
    It’s the same thing as airlines petitioning the FAA for regulations -they- want, for -their- convenience, and then saying “well, it’s FAA regulations, you have to do it this way.”
    The cabbies petition for more money. Who wouldn’t under that system?

  • PaulfromHydeParkMA

    Well, for one thing, there’s the traffic. For another , there are the outrageous tunnel fees that are kited and passed along to the passenger. I took a cab 2x, 1x each to Milton and to Hyde Park from Logan, from which I usually take Logan Express to Braintree and drive home. In both cases, the driver ran the meter, HP b/c it’s inside city limits, and Milton b/c it’s just across the Neponset from Boston. In both cases, the fare, including tolls, tip, etc. was >$60! That’s ridiciulous! Over the top ridiculous. Boston fancies itself a major city, but in so many ways its policies and practices are out of sync with cities that understand how to run things on a big scale. The cab drivers here coast to save gas, which makes them dangerous to be near on the roads. They do this in every neighborhood, not just in downtown. The “Hail A Cab” practice is frowned upon here, so in town, one gets stuck behind a cab only if one wants his trip to take 2x as long. It’s just silly…do whatever is necessary to bring Cab rates in sync with a similar sized market, like D.C, where the rates are, as the chart shows, the best in the nation.

  • yml bos

    It’s a game of Monopoly:  You buy up the property (taxi medallion) when you have the money; henceforth, you can sit back and collect the rent.  

    In the case of taxi medallion, it’s really also intellectual property right because government could have jump in and increase the cap of the number of medallions every year.  That would lower the demand (hence, price) of medallion when increasing supply.  But is that going to help the taxi drivers (and making it easier to make a living)?  Not necessarily, because you’re effectively putting more cabs on the street, increasing the competition for the cab drivers, while the cab fare is still fixed.  

    So, if you really want to liberalize the market (by increasing competition and lowering the fare), you have to do two things at the same time:  Lowering cab fare AND increasing taxi medallions.  That would make the taxi customers happier, but it’s not necessarily going to make life easier for cab drivers, and it’ll effectively kill the taxi medallion market.  

    All choices involve tradeoff.  The medallion system works not only in this country, but in other countries too.  Is it a perfect system?  No.  But the alternatives do not necessarily bring sunny blue sky to everyone.  There will be winners, but there could potentially be more losers in the alternatives.

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