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    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.

    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