Six professional taxi drivers have killed themselves in the past eight months, and many point to financial ruin as the cause.
taxi drivers depend on value of the medallion
Medallions are the permits that the City issues to regulate the number of cabs on the road. Buy a permit, you’re set for life with a steady income and a retirement based on the increasing value of the medallion, which could be rented or sold.
In 1980, a medallion cost something like $150,000. By 2014, they sere worth over a million dollars. After paying off your medallion loan, your retirement was set.
enter Uber and Lyft
More cabs and more competition mean medallion prices tank. Uber and Lyft don’t need medallions to operate, have devalued medallions by as much as 80% in four years.
Though New York City caps the number of yellow cabs at just over 13,600, it doesn’t limit the number of drivers for Uber, Lyft, or other services. Uber launched in the city in 2011 with 105 cars on the road. In 2015, they had 20,000. Today, there are more than 63,000 cars providing rides through various apps, 60,000 of which are Uber.
city council steps in
New York city council imposed new rules aimed at slowing the number of app-cars and establishing pay rules for drivers. New York is the first major American city to take action.