‘The crucial question for medallion owners like Mr. Ionescu is, if Uber is that much cheaper than a taxi, why would anyone take a taxi, and therefore why would any driver pay to lease a medallion? Mr. Ionescu says his revenues are down around 25 percent, and he’s having trouble leasing out his whole fleet.
Official data on medallion prices can be misleading for two main reasons: simple inaccuracy — as in New York, where officials excluded most sales from their calculations — or the very small number of sales. In Chicago, for example, there have been only 11 medallion sales since July 1, compared with 147 during the same period last year. Just because somebody sold a medallion for $300,000 doesn’t mean it will be consistently possible to sell at that price into a thin market.
“Those are fake prices,” said Mohammad Kamran, a medallion broker in Chicago, who blames UberX. “The price has plunged big time, and there are no buyers or sellers because the lenders are not lending money.”’