Tag Archives: chicago taxi medallions

Medallion prices now posted by Chicago Dispatcher

Now that Chicago Dispatcher is posting Chicago taxi medallion sales prices in a defined area of their web site, it may no longer be useful to post any of them here. (Chicago Dispatcher’s print edition was the source for all recent reports I posted, but posting of the information on the web wasn’t consistent.) They continue to calculate an “average” monthly price; unfortunately it seems to be a mean or mode, not a median. At last report (pdf), this figure was $183,000, indicating little change in recent months.

Have medallion prices peaked?

When last reviewed here, prices for Chicago taxi medallions had risen to an average of $185,000.  Prices have since peaked at $202,000, but now are below that previous level.  The March Chicago Dispatcher printed edition includes an ad offering to pay medallion owners $750/month, which implies almost 5% ROI if prices stabilize.

Month                Price               Source

February ’10      $183,000        Chicago Dispatcher
January ’10        $184,000        Chicago Dispatcher
December ’09    $202,000       Chicago Dispatcher
October ‘09       $185,000       City of Chicago
May ‘09             $170,000       Chicago Dispatcher
April ‘09            $164,500        Chicago Dispatcher
March ‘09           $165,000        Chicago Dispatcher
February ‘09      $158,000        Chicago Dispatcher
Feb ‘07               $  77,000        Chicago Tribune
2004                   >$40,000       Chicago Tribune
1991                     $28,000         Chicago Sun Times

Eventually the City of Chicago may post more recent information here (scroll down to “Taxicab Medallion Transfer Price List” for the pdf report.)

Speculating in cab medallions

Prices below are medians (2009), and “average” for earlier years.

Month                Price               Source

October ’09        $185,000       City of Chicago
May ‘09             $170,000       Chicago Dispatcher
April ‘09            $164,500        Chicago Dispatcher
March ‘09           $165,000        Chicago Dispatcher
February ‘09      $158,000        Chicago Dispatcher
Feb ‘07               $  77,000        Chicago Tribune
2004                   >$40,000       Chicago Tribune
1991                     $28,000         Chicago Sun Times

The October list includes two sales at $190,000.

As medallion prices rise despite a sagging economy, this seems to me to indicate that fares are already too high and should be reduced, which would allow medallion prices to fall and, in theory, drivers would be unaffected while passengers benefit.

But Chicago Dispatcher publisher George Lutfallah sees it differently.  Due to difficult conditions in the taxi industry, individual medallion owners are selling their medallions to big owners– the taxi equivalent of land speculators. Lutfallah sees this as a bad thing, “a taxi driver who owns his or her own cab is more likely to take better care of both the vehicle and the customer.”  He therefore recommends a fare increase.  (source: print edition of Chicago Dispatcher October ’09)