The yellow taxis of New York City are one of the most iconic symbols of the towering metropolis. They carry 600,000 passengers every day, and there are over 50,000 licensed cab drivers. There are more cab drivers than there are cabs because of the way people pay to get a taxi.
To get a taxi, you need to have a taxi medallion. The taxi medallion is like a second license that authorizes individuals to pick up anybody who is hailing for a ride anywhere in the city.
The medallion system began during the Great Depression when a huge number of people took to driving cabs due to unemployment in other sectors. The immense amount of competition led to prices being extremely low. Also, the quality of the drivers and cars varied immensely and it created unsafe driving conditions.
Medallions were created to limit the number of taxi drivers and increase the quality of the drivers and vehicles. The medallions, however, were sold out decades ago and the only way to get one now is to buy it from someone else. The exclusive right to pick up passengers in Manhattan is a valuable prospect, and medallions can cost over a million dollars. For more information, check out the video above.