New York City taxi drivers, crushed by indebtedness aft years of exploitative indebtedness practices, volition beryllium rescued nether a caller woody announced by authorities officials connected Wednesday, a large triumph for drivers amid a days-long hunger strike demanding help.
Mayor Bill de Blasio and Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) announced the deal, saying they had reached an statement betwixt the Taxi Workers Alliance and the city’s largest holder of taxi medallion loans, Marblegate Asset Management. All taxis successful New York are required to person a tin medallion bolted to the hoods that authorize them to prime up fares.
Prices for the medallions, which are constricted successful number, began to soar astir 20 years ago, peaking supra $1 cardinal by 2014. Many cabbies took connected monolithic indebtedness to wage for them, adjacent if they couldn’t spend it. The medallion marketplace collapsed aboriginal that year, and galore drivers went bankrupt. Some died by suicide, prompting investigations into marketplace practices, but not earlier drivers were saddled with unaffordable repayments.
The deal, which The New York Times noted could spot the metropolis walk much than $100 cardinal overall, volition trim the magnitude each operator owes to $170,000 from an mean of astir $500,000. Maximum monthly repayments volition beryllium $1,122 for each medallion, and the metropolis volition warrant the loans if a operator defaults. All drivers successful the metropolis are eligible for the program.
THANK YOU NYC!!!!
We person won a city-backed guarantee! Loans volition beryllium restructured to max $170K! No much indebtedness beyond our lifetime. No much hazard of losing homes.
DRIVER POWER! UNION POWER! #EndCabbieDebt
Driver advocacy groups praised the determination arsenic an effort to support the cabdrivers who assistance support New York’s arteries moving astir the clock.
“Today marks a caller dawn, a caller opening for a workforce that has struggled done truthful overmuch situation and loss,” Bhairavi Desai, the enforcement manager of the New York Taxi Workers Alliance, said successful a statement. “Today, we tin accidental owner-drivers person won existent indebtedness alleviation and tin statesman to get their lives back. Drivers volition nary longer beryllium astatine hazard of losing their homes, and nary longer beryllium held captive to a indebtedness beyond their lifetime.”
Officials had announced different program successful March to walk $65 cardinal to assistance bail retired cabbies, but the programme was lambasted arsenic being far excessively small.
The New York Times published a lengthy series connected the plight faced by taxi drivers successful 2019, which showcased years of exploitative lending practices that saw immoderate drivers instrumentality retired the loans amid promises the indebtedness was a bully investment.
Drivers began their hunger onslaught much than 2 weeks ago, camping extracurricular City Hall and demanding much support. Schumer, whose father-in-law was a cabdriver successful New York City, said helium was “proud” to beryllium portion of the woody that would extremity undue levels of debt.
“The medallion indebtedness situation has gone connected for years, taking lives and livelihoods,” Schumer said successful a connection Wednesday. “Together, we volition bring this ongoing concern to a conscionable solution for the thousands of cabbies who enactment each time to service this City.”
The afloat outgo of the programme has not yet been determined.