In 2009, the MTA tax ($.50) was created. In 2011, the improvement fund ($.30 for drivers of Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles) was created. In 2019, the congestion charge ($2.50) was created.

Now, the TLC changed the scheduled quarterly WAV payments into a monthly payment. In a few years, when there are only 500 yellow taxis the on streets, what will all surcharges add up to… $8 per trip?

I fear the $1,000 improvement fund WAV owners get will go away. What happened to the talk at TLC meetings of incentives for having a WAV? Will that continue or will drivers no longer get it for WAV fares?

Curb, the city approved app for WAV ehail requests, doesn’t pay drivers’ incentives. AAR WAV does, but the driver needs to email proof of receipts and accessible dispatch pays depending on distance.

There will be less taxis on the road in the future, possibly in next few months. I know many medallion owners who, in just the last month, put their medallions in storage. This industry has gone down the drain – not just medallion values but the trust of the riding public and technology pressure.

If yellows are to survive, only legislation will help. Otherwise, only medallions that are fully paid will be on the streets servicing the public. A medallion is worth, what, $60K these days?

The ehail technology is manipulated, the system decides who gets what fare, not the drivers. The more fares a driver does, the more they get. I’ve been closer to CURB fare requests than any other drivers, but THEY get the fares. It seems the companies decide how much a driver can earn. A driver can work 12 hours and make only $100 while others make $300. This isn’t being an independent contractor, it’s employment.

– Taxi Solomon

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I feel like they completely forgot about all of us. There is no day I don’t think about committing suicide, because I’m coming from so far away to get this close to get out of poverty and I’ve been robbed. My life has been taken away from me.

Mohamadou Aliyu, NYC medallion owner/driver
Source: PIX11

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Some days my dad will come home and tell me about the great conversations he had with strangers as he would take them to their destination. And some days his reports are grim. No tips, someone threw up in his cab, or he would even get the once-a-month racist who would spit in the taxi in disgust or curse him out just for being brown. This is the reality of how taxi drivers earn a living. But what made it worth it, or purported to, was this: My father was sold the idea that a medallion was an investment – one that would leave our entire family feeling economically secure. Turns out, this was far from the truth. This past summer, my father filed for bankruptcy as the loan payments became increasingly difficult in light of the pandemic. As a result, we lost our medallion, which gave my father the right to drive his taxi. My family and I have experienced deafening grief and fear as we grapple with the possibility of losing our home and livelihood during a pandemic.

– Felicia Singh, daughter of a Taxi driver
Source: New York Daily News

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City Council Speaker Corey Johnson and Mayor Bill de Blasio have failed to show leadership regarding the crisis in the taxicab industry. Time and again the city’s top elected officials have knitted their brows and wrung their hands over the loss of value of the city’s taxi medallions, cab driver suicides and ride-hail apps’ disruption of the industry. What the politicians have not done is come up with a clear, effective strategy for regulating for-hire vehicles.

When the app-hail vehicles started to overwhelm city streets, the Taxi and Limousine Commission abdicated its responsibility. Instead of studying the way the new players operated in the streetscape, they overlaid an existing regulatory framework that was neither effective nor appropriate.

Crain’s Editors
Source: Crain’s New York Business