New York cabbies are taking it off for a good cause: to rehabilitate their image.
A group of New York City cab drivers modeled shirtless and in “alluring” poses for a pinup calendar, that reportedly is in part to benefit a group that helps immigrant families and individuals. This is the second year for the “beefcakes” calendar. But will the beefcake calendars be enough for an image makeover?
New York City cabs and their counterparts in cities across the country seem to be struggling with an image problem that stems from their attempts to fight competition not through adapting, innovating and providing better service, but through litigation.
Last week, taxi owners and lenders representing more than 8,600 medallion owners sued New York City and the Taxi Commission arguing that competitor Uber is putting them out of business and threatening their livelihoods. They claim that the number of Uber rides in Manhattan increased by 3.82 million from April to June this year compared to a year earlier, while medallion cab pickups fell by 3.83 million. We can do the math.
As a result of increased competition, the value of medallions has dropped by a reported 40 percent from a peak of over $1 million and is causing defaults. Some 22 bankrupt companies run by a tax magnate can thank ridesharing. The lawsuit seeks compensatory and punitive damages as CNBC reports:
The lawsuit filed in Manhattan federal court accused the defendants of violating yellow cab drivers' exclusive right to pick up passengers on the street by letting Uber drivers who face fewer regulatory burdens pick up millions of passengers who use smartphones to hail rides.
"Defendants' deliberate evisceration of medallion taxicab hail exclusivity, and their ongoing arbitrary, disparate regulatory treatment of the medallion taxicab industry, has and continues to inflict catastrophic harm on this once iconic industry, and the tens of thousands of hardworking men and women that depend on it for their livelihood," the complaint said.
The lawsuit seeks compensatory and punitive damages, including for alleged violations of cab drivers' property and equal protection rights under the U.S. Constitution.
It also seeks to ease cab drivers' regulatory burdens, including a requirement that half of their cabs be accessible to disabled people by 2020.
In September, a state judge in Queens County dismissed a lawsuit by the credit union seeking to stop the city from supporting Uber's expansion.
The taxicab industry needs to stop focusing on trying to lobby, sue, and protest Uber out of business, and focus on competition. Happy customers (such as NBC’s weather man Al Roker, who recently shared a good experience), are a better way to go than the courts.