Uber and Lyft may have diminished the taxi medallion system, but the “medallion” idea can still be applied in other places! One weird local government tip.
Taxis in many cities operate under what is called a “medallion system” (Figure 1), whereby the supply of taxis is limited by a fixed quantity of tokens (“medallions”) that are issued in controlled quantities by the city.
For some reason, almost nothing else is regulated in this manner. But there are other services that are conceptually similar and could have their own “medallion” systems.
- Bicycles: Like a taxi, a bicycle consumes space on the public roads. Licensing of bicycles to a small number (see Figure 3, right side) would guarantee the availability of bike rack spots.
- Internet usage could be prohibited without an “Internet cube” medallion (see Figure 3, left side). This could increase the available bandwidth for other purposes and could bring clients back to businesses like video rental companies and paper map retailers.
PROS: Opens up a new source of income: purchase a medallion, and then rent it out!
CONS: It may be difficult for City Hall employees to estimate the exact quantity of medallions to issue.