Tuesday, June 21, 2011

If I had 10,000,000,000...

... I would buy out John Aston and every one of the current taxi medallion owners who believe they've made an investment in "the American dream," but don't understand or care that investments are gambles, and that the government has no responsibility to guarantee their investment.

All you taxi rentiers, please take your $800,000 and get out. Anyone who is willing to hold the city hostage to ensure their rate of return does not deserve to do business here. I don't want you paying people like Ethan Gerber, Fernando Mateo or Lew Fidler to stand in front of City Hall and spew garbage about killing jobs, community service and local control. You want a guaranteed investment? Put $250,000 in a savings account, or buy Treasury bills.

Contrast this attitude with Bhairavi Desai, who simply negotiated some measures to mitigate the impact of these changes on her members. Let's hope that the other groups are bluffing too, and that over the next few days they'll take their concessions and quietly walk away.

Fernando Mateo actually told the Times, "It’s better that we keep the status quo as it is. Why create change? It’s not right. I don’t understand what the mentality at City Hall really is right now."

Well, Mr. Mateo, it's really pretty simple. As "the Changeling" in Bed-Stuy writes, (1) from a distance it's hard to tell whether a car is a livery cab and whether it's already taken, (2) the honking that substitutes for availability lights is annoying, (3) haggling is difficult, and some passengers resort to flirting, (4) some cars and drivers are unlicensed and some dispatchers are unprofessional.

That's why we want to create change: to replace the messed-up system of illegal street hails with a professional service that people in the outer boroughs can rely on so that they don't feel as much pressure to blow their hard-earned money on a private car. That's better for New Yorkers and better for the environment. That's what the mentality at City Hall is right now.

According to the Times, Matteo also "said that he feared that if livery cars began picking up passengers on the streets, fewer of those cars would be available to respond to radio calls and pick up people who do not live near major thoroughfares." Well, no. If there's demand for radio calls and the current drivers aren't fulfilling it, then new drivers can come in to fill the gap. After all, there's no cap on the number of people who can respond to radio calls. Is a successful entrepreneur like him really so ignorant of basic issues of supply and demand, or is he bullshitting?

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