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COMMISSIONER'S COLUMN

June 2006

Lots to talk about today, most notably Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s announcement that the 308 new taxicab medallions that will be available for auction in June will be split into 254 alternative fuel medallions and 54 accessible medallions.  This follows on the heels of some confusion caused by the introduction of a City Council Bill that would have structured the medallion sale somewhat differently, and I think we can all be thankful for the clarity as well as the unique opportunity that we now have. 

This sale is an opportunity for the Bloomberg Administration to take a bold step forward for the environment, and there has been a tremendous amount of interest.  People are also excited about the fact that the 27 hybrids currently on the road have been performing well, and that we recently added two additional hybrid-electric vehicle models to the seven already approved (making nine, all together). 

This may very well be the last chance for anyone to purchase a new medallion from the City at an auction for a long time to come.  The 308 medallions would be the remainder of the 900 medallions that were authorized to be sold by State and Local Law several years ago.  The auction is a unique opportunity to competitively bid on new medallions that are not subject to the 5% transfer tax, and which are free from any accident or other claims.  Also, for the second time, accessible and alternative fuel medallions will be offered for sale – which sold for less than unrestricted medallions at the last sale. 

We will now be holding two auctions instead of three, with bids for the 54 accessible medallions now being accepted at 40 Rector Street, 5th Floor, from Tuesday, June 13 through Thursday, June 15 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and publicly opened on Friday, June 16 also at 40 Rector Street (sixth floor hearing room) at 11 a.m.

Bids for the 254 alternative fuel medallions will now be accepted at 40 Rector Street, 5th Floor from Monday, June 19 through Wednesday, June 21 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and will be publicly opened on Thursday, June 22 also at 40 Rector Street (sixth floor hearing room) at 11 a.m.

Our outreach efforts remain in full swing, of course, with information appearing on television and radio, and in dozens of newspapers and magazines that are watched and read in many different languages.  We also welcomed several hundred prospective bidders in a series of well-attended Medallion Sale Seminars that explained the taxicab industry and auction process in detail.  This seminar can also be viewed online via the TLC website at www.nyc.gov/taxi.  Also, on May 31st at 11:00 am the TLC will hold a Technical Workshop for those interested in learning more about how to prepare and file a bid.  The workshop will be held at 40 Rector Street and if you are interested in attending, please call 311 and ask that a seat be reserved for you.

If you are interested in buying a medallion at the auction, in order to obtain important and updated information (including the important minimum bid prices that will be set soon), you can call 311, visit our website or sign-up for the City’s e-mail update list at www.nyc.gov/register.

My advice to anyone considering the purchase of a medallion at the City’s auction is to focus on what is right for you.  The purchase and finance of a medallion is a very personal and individualized decision, and I would encourage you to visit our website, call the many licensed TLC brokers and/or speak with those who have knowledge of medallion and personal finance to ensure that you are making the right decision.  The benefits of ownership may far outweigh the benefits of leasing in terms of revenue generating and other opportunities.  For instance, you may subsequently transfer or sell a medallion on the open-market for profit or use the equity that you build in a medallion to finance the purchase of a home or as collateral for other loans.  But these ownership benefits can only be realized if you do not get in over your head!  There is plenty of competition and there are many attractive loan deals being offered by lending institutions that finance medallion sales - with very minimal down payments.  However, for it to be a good deal for you, you must analyze your non-medallion related personal finances and other economic commitments to ensure that the payments can be made for years to come.

While the market prices for medallions and the number of potential bidders may seem intimidating, please do not be discouraged.  First decide whether medallion ownership is right for you, and if so, do not get caught-up in hype or rumor, but focus on placing a bid you can afford.  Remember, you have absolutely nothing to lose by placing a bid – and you may win one of the best performing assets that could positively change your financial life forever.

Remember, the City of New York has authorized the sale of medallions only twice this century, so let’s make history together once again…

 

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