Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop has been touting his city since he took office in July, but even he was surprised by the interest — and revenue created — at Thursday's taxi medallion auction.
The auction of 20 medallions — the first auction in the city in more than a decade — raised $5.1 million in revenue, which was more than three times the expectation. There now will be 124 taxicabs in Jersey City, which has a population of approximately 250,000 — though city officials feel that number doubles during the week day due to the businesses in the area.
"We want to make Jersey City the best mid-size city in America, which means looking at every possible area for improvement, including transportation options such as taxis," Fulop said. "If we want to compete with other cities as a destination for business and tourism, we must provide top quality services and transportation."
Fulop said the auction proved the city is headed in the right direction.
"Today's auction speaks to the vibrancy of Jersey City as a residential and commercial center," he said. "While we knew there was a great demand for additional taxis throughout Jersey City, particularly in areas such as Journal Square, the results of the auction far exceeded our expectations."
The last taxi medallion auction was held in 2001. Since then, the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail has grown and flourished in the city, with an average of 25,000 weekday commuters in Jersey City alone.
"Our city has grown and changed tremendously in the past decade and is continuing to grow," Fulop said. "We want Jersey City to be an inviting place for our residents, businesses and for tourists, which is why we are expanding the number of taxis across the city."