Taxi medallions confer the right to participate in a cartel which is granted by the city. The benefit to consumers was supposed to be a guaranteed level of service quality. Many consumers were quite dissatisfied with the pricing and the service, leaving it ripe for disintermediation by transport network companies such as Uber. This article suggests that, like many government controlled ("regulated") cartels, the medallion system maybe has some bookkeeping problems.
"An officer with the hackney unit said he did not have data on the previous owner, the bank, or the buyers were, records that are supposed to be maintained by the police department and available to the public."
"Donna Blythe-Shaw, a spokeswoman for the Boston Taxi Drivers Association" ... "said she just had a meeting with Police commissioner William Evans and other officers from the hackney unit and they would not give her the names of the buyers and sellers, either, something she said was very concerning." and she "said if the banks are holding onto the medallions, that’s a violation of city regulations, which say a medallion has to be displayed when in use and, if not attached to a cab, stays in possession of the police department. “It can’t be in somebody’s drawer,” Blythe-Shaw said."
Earlier, a friend of mine sent me a wonderful article at The Atlantic. The presence of that article at The Atlantic was so shocking, that I tracked it to its source, CityObservatory, which is a NEST of wonderful articles (conspicuously unlike The Atlantic, altho go them for having the taste to include it!).
Here is what my friend sent me:
I tracked it to here:
I then read many other wonderful articles at this Knight sponsored site. Enjoy! (Honestly, I didn't have so much as a quibble with the Immaculate Conception article, beyond observing that public transport has a role to play in making housing affordable, see the NYC subway expansion described in Peter Derrick's excellent _Tunneling to the Future_.) Truly, wonderful things come from Portland, OR.
ETA: Alan Durning on affordability issues, from my sister:
My sister is fascinated by micro-housing/aPodments and does a great job keeping up with the details.