Cab medallions fetch record prices

Medallions go for $312K-$431K

MIAMI - Miami-Dade County auctioned off six new taxicab medallions Tuesday, and bidders paid record prices to get one. 

The least expensive medallion was purchased with bid of $312,000; the most expensive fetched $431,000. 

"It's insanity," said Joel Barbanell, president of Flamingo Taxi in Miami, who, as a taxi company owner, was not allowed to bid.  "But there's a good reason for it. These people who get a medallion can do what they want with it.  They can sell it, lease it, keep it as an investment." 

Lonnie Sorkin submitted a winning bid of $430,000 for a taxi medallion and called it a good deal.  

"It has a lot of value," Sorkin said.  "It's the first time in quite a while that medallions have been available." 

Until Tuesday, Miami-Dade had issued 2,105 taxicab medallions. The six new ones were authorized last summer by the Miami-Dade Commission. The bid restrictions are aimed at making cab drivers the owners of  the medallions, but at Tuesday's prices, it's unlikely they will be.  

"A cab driver will not be able to buy a medallion in the near future.  It's just too expensive," Barbanell said.

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