New York City is looking to add 2,000 more taxis to its streets, which should help transportation-challenged pedestrians hail a cab quicker. Or will it?

NPR asked transport economist Charles Komanoff his opinion of the plan and his take isn't so positive. Sure, he says, 2,000 more cabs should make it easier to get a ride, but more cars means more traffic. And not just more traffic, but more constant traffic. While private cars eventually reach their destinations and park, taxis take up precious road space 24 hours a day. That slows down all traffic including buses, cars, other taxis, etc.

Komanoff estimates the city's traffic would move at least 12-percent slower. You'll be able to catch a cab about 60 seconds faster, but take more time than before to reach your destination. His figures show the slowdown could cost the city about $500 million a year in lost time. Which kinda negates the one-time $1 billion the city expects to make from auctioning the 2,000 new cab licenses.

But the plan to add more cabs is being held up by a lawsuit. Not by residents afraid of getting around town slower, but by the cabbies themselves. More cabs equals more competition.

In the video below, Komanoff gives a brief and interesting history of traffic in New York City.


I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 81 Comments
      lne937s
      • 2 Years Ago
      BTW, the medalions are auctioned off. There is so much demand and so few medalions available, ~$500K is what the market is willing to pay. If they for zero emissions taxis or only outer boroughs, then maybe. But for Manhattan, it doesn't make sense. I rarely take one, but have never had a problem hailing a cab in Manhattan. And, unless something crazy like the blackout happens, if you are not capable of hailing a cab in less than a minute in Manhattan, you are obviously a tourist.
        Dayv
        • 2 Years Ago
        @lne937s
        "if you are not capable of hailing a cab in less than a minute in Manhattan, you are obviously a tourist." ... or a black person, sadly.
      Stan
      • 2 Years Ago
      They need to be fiat 500's or some such thing. Then it won't matter.
      carmineminardi
      • 2 Years Ago
      add to it the new traffice snarking and confusing bike lanes all over the city and you have created total anarchy.
      car4068043
      • 2 Years Ago
      You think its going to get worse-try this: walk over to 57th and Lex on a typical workday, say around 1130am. Wait until you see the M57 bus, then start walking west. I can almost gurantee that you will beat the bus to 10th Avenue everytime!
      SgtJoeFriday
      • 2 Years Ago
      And it will get worse until the 2nd Avenue Subway and East Side Access opens.
      stthomaslimo
      • 2 Years Ago
      I drive a cab in NYC, Last week I picked up a passenger from LGA to go to W Hotel on Lexington in NYC, it's only a 9 miles ride. It took me 1 hr 3o minutes because of paving going on on the BQE or I-278
        James Taylor
        • 2 Years Ago
        @stthomaslimo
        On Sunday I got off the comutter rail in Back Bay Boston and walked out to get a cab over to Fenway Park. The cab driver said no and refused the fare because he said traffice was too heavy. I was able to get another cab and got over to Fenway without a problem. The first cabby was from some caribean country getting his free ride over here.
      surfherenomail
      • 2 Years Ago
      Does it really have any connection to passenger convenience or is it the 1 Billion the city will gain on the taxi medallion sale ? Let's face it convenience is far from their first concern, notice how many spots there are where folks could park but they don't allow it hoping for those that will so they can ticket and tow your ride ?
      Kumar
      • 2 Years Ago
      A side story to this is the whole industry that has grown around the resale of the existing licenses. I'm neither her nor there on this issue, but I suspect most of the resistance to the expansion has more to do with that than any concerns over street crowding. Quite a few banks and credit unions stand to go under if the value of the cab medallions plummet, much like we saw during the housing bust. If you got a loan for $1 million to buy a medallion and they're now worth half of that...you will be hurting. On the other hand, it makes the city money, and lowers the entry point for people wanting to get in to the cab business.
      riognach
      • 2 Years Ago
      Take the subway. You may have to walk an extra block or two, but you'll get to where you are going on time.
      mpusairsret
      • 2 Years Ago
      Tired of NYC congestion, try Seattle. Closer to growing markets in Asia. And don't say it rains all the time. Remember you don't need to shovel snow. In summer we consider 90's a heat wave. And guess what no city or state income tax.
        craiginnyc
        • 2 Years Ago
        @mpusairsret
        Seattle? Give me a break. I've sat in hideous traffic there. I5 is always nuts. 520 was nuts until they put tolls on it, now all those folks are on I90.
      Hello PDavan7
      • 2 Years Ago
      NYC Needs LESS CARS including Taxis and cheaper parking.
      th0mb0ne
      • 2 Years Ago
      All 2000 should be in Brooklyn.
    • Load More Comments