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Record $360,000 paid for N.Y. taxi medallion

A Bangladeshi immigrant paid $360,000 Monday at a city auction for a New York taxi medallion, required by the city to own and operate a taxicab. Mohammed Shah, 44, mortgaged his house in the borough of Queens to help pay for it.
/ Source: Reuters

If the price of riding in a New York taxi seems high, try buying into the business.

A Bangladeshi immigrant put himself in the driver’s seat by paying a record $360,000 at a city auction on Monday for a New York taxi medallion, which is required by the city to own a taxicab. Most cabdrivers in the city work for taxi fleets or lease time from a medallion owner.

Mohammed Shah, 44, mortgaged his house in the New York borough of Queens to help finance the purchase of one of 116 new taxi medallions sold to the highest bidders.

Shah, a father of three who has been driving a cab since 1996, submitted the top sealed bid in a sale that saw the price of an owner-driver medallion rise almost $50,000 from last year.

The average winning bid on Monday for a medallion exceeded $339,000, according to the Taxi and Limousine Commission. The previous top price for an individual medallion was $311,770 paid at auction in April.

The sale increased the number of taxi medallions in the city to 12,487.