Bhairavi Desai, the Executive Director of the New York Taxi Workers Alliance and several cab drivers gathered on the street in front of City Hall yesterday to protest the Mayor‘s association with app-based ride-sharing companies. The angry Taxi Workers laid 4 caskets in the street during the protest to signify the four drivers who have taken their own lives due to the continually falling value of cab medallions.
The four cab drivers put up everything they owned when investing in the city-owned medallions, some paying nearly 1,000,000 dollars for the formerly secure investment. With business dipping by over 40 percent, many cab drivers find themselves in dire financial situations without a way to pay for the medallion or take care of their families.
The value of the mediallions has plummeted to just over $125,000 since ride-sharing apps from LYFT and Uber have been allowed to flood the in 2013.
Many yellow cab drivers invested large amounts of cash into purchasing a medallion because of its former long-term security value. Cab driver Nino Hervis said he purchased his medallion 15 years ago and depended on it to pay for his retirement.
A spokesperson for The Taxi and Limousine Service released a statement saying they are terribly troubled by the suicide of four of their drivers and they are hoping legislation can be passed that would limit the number of app-based, ride-sharing vehicles allowed on the road to compete with the yellow cabs.
A bill to limit the number of cars competing with yellow cabs was proposed in 2015 but failed to pass.
Photo Credit: Getty Images