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If Uber Is Killing Taxis, What Explains the Million-Dollar Medallions?

A New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission medallion attached to the hood of a cab
A New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission medallion attached to the hood of a cabRichard Levine/Corbis

To hear angry hacks and enthusiastic Silicon Valley types tell it, Uber is killing the taxi industry. Apparently no one told the people who buy New York City taxi medallions.

This week, New York held an auction for individual yellow-cab medallions, the rare and wonderful permits that give drivers the right to operate a taxi and pick up street hails. Winning bidders paid as much as $965,000 for the latest batch of medallions. Last year the city drew even higher, record-setting prices in an auction for corporate medallions, which went for as much as $1.26 million. That record will be broken in the coming weeks when a single medallion changes hands for $1.31 million, according to Andrew Murstein of Medallion Financial, which is helping finance the deal.