The Medallion System and the Legality of Transportation Network Companies

BY ALINA GONZALEZ – When thinking about lottery systems, seldom do individuals think about the for-hire taxicab licenses. In Miami-Dade County, taxicab licenses are given out through the use of a medallion system. [1] Only individuals selected through the Miami-Dade County limited taxicab licenses lottery system are afforded the honor of receiving a license. [2] They can receive this license by submitting a small payment of twenty-five thousand dollars. [3] Only individuals who have had a taxicab chauffeur’s registration for five years may apply for this license.[4] Further, each chauffer must be listed on the insurance and the license holder must have the insurance as specified in the code.[5] The country, however, only hands out a few of these medallions. The medallions are estimated to cost an estimated 340,000 dollars in the market.[6]

Taxicab license holders have lobbied against the legality of “Uber” and “Lyft” in Miami-Dade County due to the fact that taxicab license holders must abide by these regulations and under the current law many others, such as “Uber,” does not have to. However, most consumers favor Uber and other transportation network companies (“TNC”) due to the low cost and convenience of the service they offer. You may use a credit card to pay and you can see exactly how far a driver is from your current location. Depending on the taxicab you receive you may have to wait an unknown amount of time and you have to make sure you have cash just in case the taxicab does not accept credit card.

The California Public Utilities Commission, which oversees the transportation network companies in California, has required that TNC’s do certain things in order to operate. TNC’s in California must have insurance that covers passengers and property damage.[7] TNC’S must also provide the Commission with certain reports, which shows that the TNC’s drivers have completed a driver-training program, that the TNC also has an Accessibility Plan.[8]

The high consumer demand of the TNC’s has made it nearly impossible for any county commission to not be forced to give into at least considering the legality of the TNC’s in their county. On September 28, 2015, Mayor Carlos Gimenez announced that “Uber” and “Lyft” would be legal by the end of the year 2015.[9] He also stated that the legality of the TNC’s would also allow for the relaxation of some regulations on taxicab licenses and drivers.[10]

As Miami-Dade County continues to look into the legality of the TNC, they should consider the California model and how they have legalized TNCs. California taxicabs and TNC’s have learned to share the industry together and have made it work for the benefit of the consumer. The legality of TNC’s stimulates innovation and forces the competitive market to get better and grow. Many taxicabs now have credit card machines which was you were unlikely to see during the “pre-uber” era. It is important that other cities consider the legality of TNC’S and continue supporting innovation by doing so.


[1] Miami-Dade.Code §31-77-31.80 (m)

[2] Id.

[3] Id.

[4] Id.

[5] Miami-Dade.Code §31-88 (A)

[6] Patricia Mazzei, Miami-Dade County’s taxicab industry: few dollars for drivers, poor service for passengers, The Miami Herald (January 15, 2014)

[7] California Public Utilities Commission, Insurance Requirements (July 6, 2015),

[8] California Public Utilities Commission, Required Reports (July 6, 2015),

[9] Glenn Garvin and Douglas Hanks, Mayor Gimenez: Uber, Lyft will be legal in Miami-Dade by end of year, The Miami Herald (September 28, 2015)

[10] Id.

2 thoughts on “The Medallion System and the Legality of Transportation Network Companies

  1. Jose

    I thought it was a good report and you did some research. There are few things I should point out to you. All taxis in Miami Dade are required to have an operating charge card machine and all customer has the option of filling out the the survey in the back seat and send it to the Consumer Cervices Department or calling them on the number provided to file a complaint . Refusing the charge card is a punishable violation of the code.

    It is imperative in a city that all residents have the same oporyuniyty for access to transportation providers. That includes the A D A the poor the elderly and the ones with no smart phone or credit . This new entity’s do not provide this services required by law in the taxi code and therefore are discriminating, they should have to comply.

    It is important to know that while UBER may have been first it they are no longer alone. ZAPCAB,Way2ride( from Vera phone) and many others are nationally available and do everything and more than the UBER app. This apps are working in Miami Dade in hundreds of cabs now and soon they will be in all cabs with real insurance, government background checks and vehicle standards. The question is why is UBER above law. A level playing field for all is what is needed.


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