You can now read 10 articles in a month for free on BostonGlobe.com. Read as much as you want anywhere and anytime for just 99¢.

The Boston Globe

Opinion

Jeff Jacoby

Medallion system shackles cabbies

HAVE YOU ever met a sharecropper? If you’ve been in a taxi in Boston — or any major US city — the answer is almost surely yes.

Like tenant farmers in the post-Civil War South, the typical modern cabbie pays dearly for the right to do his job. Taxi medallions — the government-issued licenses that let a car be used to transport passengers for hire — are insanely expensive: The going rate for one in Boston is about $500,000. Most would-be cabbies thus have little choice but to rent a medallion from somebody who owns one, paying through the nose for the privilege of working long shifts at low wages, in a job with high expenses, no paid vacation, and little prospect of ever being in business for themselves.

Loading comments...

You have reached the limit of 10 free articles in a month

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week