De Blasio defends record on taxi medallions

When it comes to taxis, Mayor Bill de Blasio says he’s no political hack.

On Friday, De Blasio pushed back at criticism of how his administration issued once-prized yellow cab medallions, following the May 19 publication of a New York Times investigation. The article largely faulted previous Mayors Rudolph Giuliani and Michael Bloomberg—who controlled the Taxi and Limousine Commission as de Blasio now does —for selling the permits at artificially inflated prices, but it noted that de Blasio continued the practice in the early months of his administration.

“At the beginning of the administration, it appeared there was still a strong market,” the mayor maintained in his weekly WNYC radio appearance, noting that his administration has not issued any new medallions since 2014. “After the first six months in office, we decided to do something very different.”

The Times pointed out that the mayor’s 2013 campaign took in carloads of cash from medallion owners, lenders and industry lobbyists. But the mayor bridled at the suggestion that this in any way influenced his policies.

“I can’t tell you enough times, I will keep telling you: We make decisions on the merits,” he said.

The Times piece placed more of the blame for the collapse in medallion values and the rash of driver suicides on risky loans and excessive speculation than on ride-sharing services Uber and Lyft. De Blasio nonetheless noted that he unsuccessfully sought to cap the number of new for-hire cars in 2015; he finally got a bill through the City Council last year.

SOURCE: Section Page News – Crain’s New York Business – Read entire story here.