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Letters | TIPS FOR BOSTON’S TAXI SYSTEM

Far-reaching taxi reform needed

EDWARD L. GLAESER proposes a root-and-branch cleanup of the taxi mess revealed by the Globe’s Spotlight team (“Excess of taxi rules creates corrupt mess,” Op-ed, April 4). Glaeser would bring the owners’ reign of impunity to a sharp end, completely replacing artificially scarce medallions with an annual licensing fee and other reforms. I hope the mayor has the strength to go all the way there, but even a gradual movement in that direction would be helpful.

Committing the city to issue new medallions every year would deflate the medallion bubble gradually, in transition towards an annual-fee system. Drivers would get a larger share of a lower fare, and spread taxi service more widely across the city. During the transition, new medallions could easily be auctioned and the revenue put to good use.

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Much more than money is at stake. When drivers no longer have to beg for a shift, owners will treat drivers with the dignity they deserve, and passengers will get the service we need — not just because the law requires it, but because competition makes it profitable for each to understand the other. Taxi reforms, plus the Hubway and T upgrades, can knit the city together and finally give us the urban transport we deserve.

William Masters

Somerville

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