NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — After eight suicides in the industry, the New York City Council is getting ready to tackle mounting debt among taxi drivers.
According to Councilman Ruben Diaz Sr. (D-Soundview), the City Council has yet to propose any concrete solutions yet, but he believes they’ve taken a big first step.
“We are keeping passing the hot potatoes from one to another, but now, we are going to fix it (sic),” Diaz said.
Diaz chairs the City Council Committee on For-Hire Vehicles, which unanimously passed a bill to authorize a study into the causes of mounting debt among medallion owners.
Eight drivers have committed suicide tin 2018 and many more continue to feel hopeless as they are burdened by mounting debt. Meanwhile, the value of a medallion continued to plummet thanks to the proliferation of app-based pickups.
“Taxi and Limousine Commission, or another agency or office, would be required to determine appropriate action to address the problem,” Diaz said of the bill.
The New York Taxi Workers Alliance has called for the city to work with banks and lenders to help give drivers some financial help.
Already, TLC Commissioner Meera Joshi has agreed to waive nearly $20 million in fees to help struggling medallion owners.
Councilman Mark Levine (D-Washington Heights) has also proposed a bill that would require the TLC to conduct a study of medallion owners’ financial woes and analyze new ways to assist them pay back debts.