After five years of crashing NYC taxi medallion prices, leading to a number of taxi suicides that we have documented exhaustively, taxi drivers with insurmountable medallion debt (secured by medallions) have been crushed by the virus pandemic. 

With the travel and tourism industry in a deep bust cycle, many Manhattan offices empty, sporting and cultural events canceled, restaurant restrictions, scared consumers, economic depression, and city-dwellers exiting the metro area for suburban life, drivers have struggled to find customers this summer, making it nearly impossible for thousands of yellow taxi driver-owners to service their monthly debt payments. Uber, Lyft, and other ride-hailing apps haven’t made the situation better for taxi drivers.  

Data from the Taxi and Limousine Commission revealed Yellow Cab handled 92% fewer rides in June versus the same month in 2019, with as many as 82% of the city’s 13,500 yellow taxi medallions not operational as there are no customers to pick up. 

One glance of Times Square on Friday morning (Sept. 18), around 1015 ET, revealed parts of the city still resemble a ‘ghost town’. 

With no “V”-shaped recovery for the taxi industry, thousands of drivers are broke, have no income, insurmountable debts, can’t pay rent or service their mortgage, nevertheless feed their family or pay for their children’s education – as it appears Thursday was the breaking point for hundreds of cabbies who shut down two NYC bridges and halted traffic on several streets, begging for debt forgiveness. 

NY Patch said the protests were organized by NY Taxi Workers, a union representing many of the drivers in the city. 

“Brooklyn Bridge SLOWDOWN!” NY Taxi Workers tweeted. “Driver power! Union power! Debt forgiveness now!”

Here’s a caravan of pissed off yellow taxi drivers.

“Brooklyn Bridge is SHUT DOWN!” the union tweeted.

Taxi drivers also shutdown the Queensboro Bridge. 

More pictures of the second bridge shutdown by taxi drivers.

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The union said, “Driver power. Union power.” 

The taxi union rolled deep—a lot of pissed off folks. 

The taxi caravan then blocked city streets. 

As readers know, we’ve pointed out the bubble in NYC taxi medallions for years (see: here), resulting in a steep price decline, but more importantly, the human cost has been tremendous as a slew of taxi suicides have been seen over the last five years because of the crushing debt. 

The union points out:

 “Yellow cab drivers have been betrayed by the city and bilked by lenders. Over 80 percent now face food insecurity.”

And readers need to hear what one taxi driver or at least someone associated with the taxi crisis had to say: 

“We don’t have the $$$ of the rich but we have the power of the people,” the lady said. 

To thwart social unrest in the city, not by BLM, but rather taxi drivers, Mayor Bill de Blasio might want to pass the $500 million bailout for drivers ASAP. 

Via Zerohedge