The Price of a Philadelphia Taxi Medallion Keeps on Dropping

PPA will try selling them at barely 10 percent of their original price.

The taxi business apparently isn’t what it used to be in Philadelphia.

The Pennsylvania Parking Authority in May will start selling cab medallions — the licenses required to own and operate a cab in the city — starting at $50,000 for a minimum bid. That might sound like a lot, but it pales compared to the $475,000 per medallion that the PPA tried (and failed) to sell just last fall.

PPA’s “General Counsel Dennis Weldon says there were concerns about the cost of making cabs accessible, which the medallions required, and competition from ride share services,” KYW reports, “so the authority is starting a new process with a minimum bid of $50,000.”

In other words: Competition from services like Uber — which don’t pay medallion costs to enter the market — has made potential taxi owners much less interested in paying exhorbitant fees to start or expand their fleets. So has the expenses of meeting new requirements to make taxis accessible to persons with disabilities.

Then again, the price of a medallion might’ve been inflated. NewsWorks noted in October: “The starting bid for new medallions is set at $475,000, about what they go for in the private market. The price for a medallion in 2005 was just $65,000.” In late November, authorities bumped down the price to $350,000, but there were still no takers.

The PPA has the authority to sell 45 new medallions. The sale process will resume in May.