“Taxi drivers have seriously suffered due to the City’s severe mismanagement of taxi medallions. The City was complicit in the artificial inflation of medallion prices and encouraged drivers to purchase these medallions using high-risk borrowing. When the medallion prices inevitably crashed, many drivers were left in substantial debt, which has led to at least 950 drivers filing for bankruptcy and is likely to have played a role in the current suicide crisis affecting the industry. These drivers deserve financial relief through a comprehensive bailout that includes federal and city funding as well as forgiveness from financers.”

Jumaane Williams, Public Advocate

————————————

“This bailout, although perhaps well intentioned, makes no sense. Instead of using taxpayers’ money, the city should charge the Ubers out there, the same way it charges the taxis. By doing so, the city would enhance rather than deplete public finances, and in doing so, revive and ‘bail out’ the taxi industry. For 80 years, New York had the best, most regulated taxi industry in the country, perhaps in the world. As everyone knows, the service was far from perfect, but it worked. The primary way the industry was regulated was first through the sale of medallions, and second by regular inspections every four months. After taking people’s money, the TLC did several foolish things. First, TLC forced the industry to use a car that was obviously designed by people who wanted to make riding a taxi as unpleasant an experience as possible. They called it the Taxi of the Future. It was more like the Taxi from Hell. Then the TLC did the unthinkable. They let Uber et al. add close to 100,000 regular, comfortable vehicles to our streets without charging them much more than a token amount, instead of charging them for a medallion or even the $15,000 annual fees, which would have raised about a half a billion dollars per year. These 100,000 vehicles clogged the streets and stole the rightfully earned business from the taxis. They drew many bus riders away from bus routes, hurting the MTA’s financial ability to provide, in particular, low-income New Yorkers with a relatively convenient and inexpensive way to get to work.

“The city now admits that it screwed the yellow cab industry. But the remedy is not to waste more taxpayer money. The solution is to limit the number of Ubers and charge them all the fees and taxes that the taxis pay. Raise money for the MTA to build more subways and improve service. Let the yellows use real cars. Let the two types compete fairly.”

– Lucius Riccio, NYC DOT Commissioner and MTA Board Member from 1990-93
Source: New York Daily News

————————————

“Individual Taxi Medallion Owners owe hundreds of thousands of dollars, they are drowning in growing debt. These drivers have been severely financially impacted by COVID-19, any recovery plan the City puts forth must be one that includes our taxi drivers. We must draw from the proposed plan by the Taxi Workers Alliance and the recommendations made by the Taxi Medallion Task Force and ensure we are doing much more to help our struggling taxi medallion owners.”

– Ydanis Rodriguez, Chairman of the City Council Transportation Committee

————————————

“Taxi drivers in New York City were sold a false promise and placed into what’s become a debt trap they couldn’t have anticipated. Some financial institutions are doing the right thing by forgiving this crippling debt, but because that relief is considered income by the federal government, medallion owners are further burdened by enormous tax bills. [H.R. 2077] is an important step towards justice for taxi drivers who’ve unfairly been burdened by enormous debt.”

– Rep. Gregory W. Meeks