Erik McGregor Photography

Erik McGregor is a New York City based artist, photographer and activist.

Enough is Enough! Emergency rally to save NYC Taxis at City Hall steps

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New York, NY – NYC Taxi medallion owners and drivers gathered at the City Hall steps on March, 28, 2018; to say, “Enough is enough.” The industry is in chaos and tragedy has followed in the wake. Black car, yellow cab, green car, and even Uber drivers themselves have been pushed into poverty as drivers see their incomes plummet, competing for fares in streets swamped by least 100,000 for-hire vehicles and with no relief in sight: 

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“NYC cabbies are being driven to the edge of financial ruin and despair as ride-hail apps like Uber and Lyft continue to take their customers. Last week, in the fourth driver suicide since November, Nicanor Ochisor, 65, hanged himself inside his Queens home, depressed over the plummeting value of the taxi medallion he owned that was supposed to finance his home and looming retirement. The value plunged from $1 million to around $180,000 over the last five years. 

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Last month, longtime black-car driver Doug Schifter shot himself in front of City Hall over money troubles. And two livery drivers killed themselves in recent months, one of whom, Danilo Castillo, pointedly wrote his suicide note on the back of a Taxi and Limousine Commission summons.” 

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New Yorkers for Equal Transportation Access (http://nyeta.org/ ) and the Taxi Owner and Driver Association (http://nyctmoda.com/)  will be joining the NY Taxi Workers Alliance (http://www.nytwa.org/)  in calling for the mayor and the city council to take immediate steps to address the chaos and restore both fairness and order back into a system that has spiraled out of control. 

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Most of the chaos to the industry-and the damage inflicted on NYC businesses and regular citizens-has resulted from the unchecked and under-regulated explosion of For Hire Vehicles, Companies like Uber and Lyft have flooded the city, causing environmental and economic damage in the tens of billions of dollars. 

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While all of this was unfolding, the NYC TLC was asleep at the switch, failing to regulate the newcomers and even failing to enforce the rules it has on its books. The four suicides are a wakeup call and one legislator has answered that call. 

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Responding to the chaos and the race to the bottom environment, CM Ruben Diaz, Sr., the chair of the newly created For Hire Vehicle Committee, has introduced long needed legislation to create a level playing field that would allow all stakeholders to compete fairly and make a decent living. Chair Diaz will be addressing Wednesday’s rally. 

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As NYETA’s Brad Gerstman points out: “The TLC has failed in its regulatory role to protect the taxi medallion owners, the drivers and, most importantly, the financial stability of the medallion itself. It is now up to the mayor and city council to take action, and we applaud Reverend Diaz for his bold initiative” 

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#Activism #CabDrivers #CityHall #medallion #NewYork #NYC #NYCcabbies #nyctmoda #NYETA #rally #suicide #TaxiDrivers #TaxiLimousineCommission #TLC #WorkerRights #YellowCab 

© Erik McGregor – erikrivas@hotmail.com – 917-225-8963

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