In what’s become an ever-surprising world of speculation, where millionaires are made overnight just being in the right place at the right time, it looks like owning a TLC license plate will be the next golden investment.
In fact, once Mayor Bill DeBlasio signs into law the final issuance of TLC license plates by tomorrow August 14th at 5:30PM EST, these items will become a de facto rare commodity. (There is one loophole: Owners are allowed to register vehicles that are wheelchair-accessible.)
TLC license plates are non-transferable but, like medallions, are considered an asset to a company. Unlike medallions, which have commanded up to $1 million, the plates cost up to $650. As they say in New York, wotta deal!
But the license plates will be worth arguably worth more as Uber and other rideshare drivers gain earning power beside NYC Yellow Cabs. According to the New York Post, “Uber has been urging wannabe drivers to register their cars before the cut-off — sweetening the deal with a $500 bonus for those who got their applications in before the council’s vote.” As of August 9, their efforts caused a 17-percent spike in applications, which will climb higher by the deadline. “I can’t see how it’s not a wise investment,” notes Digi Car COO Kyle Freedman.
It’s been hard to stem the tide of drivers wanting to share in the wealth of New York’s gig economy. Those looking to work as a ride sharing driver may be the ones now sending “U up” texts to rideshare fleet owners, as 40,000 NYC rideshare drivers enter the market each year with a limited supply of only 130,000 NYC TLC cars on the road.
And they aren’t the only ones who are expecting to profit from the gig economy. According to a 2017 report issued by Brooklyn-based Schaller Consulting, app-based transportation network companies (TNCs) have “added an average of 7 million passengers per month.” Many of these rideshare passengers were traveling to and from previously underserved areas of the five boroughs and suburbs. The ability for customers to catch a ride is making it possible for neighborhood businesses to flourish. Speaking to the Brooklyn Eagle, Sulma Arzu-Brown, director of operations for the NYC Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, said, “For us to get a ride now, it’s quick and easy.”
For years, New Yorkers have been complaining about cabbies who refuse fares, cherry-pick passengers, and — last but not least — don’t know where they’re going. Compared to that kind of service, the rideshare economy may not be perfect, but it’s fixing a lot of problems that were unaddressed by the medallion-only system. Which makes you wonder: Why would you get a medallion?
Author: Kyle Freedman is COO at Digi Car focused on building a rental platform for delivery and ride share drivers in NYC