On Wednesday, Oct. 20, a group of taxi drivers in New York City with the New York Taxi Workers’ Alliance began a hunger strike to demand that the city enact life-saving debt relief to workers who have been taken advantage of and squeezed to the breaking point. The infiltration of app-based rideshare services like Uber and Lyft has been disastrous for taxi workers and their industry, undercutting rates and creating a perpetual race to the bottom for everyone. On top of that, taxi drivers in New York City, many of whom are immigrants and people of color, have found themselves crushed under the weight of massive debt and are facing financial ruin. This debt stems from the artificially inflated cost of taxi medallions, the city-issued permits drivers are required to have to own a cab and pick up street hails in the city.
In this urgent interview, TRNN Editor-in-Chief Maximillian Alvarez speaks with Mouhamadou Aliyu and Bhairavi Desai about the dire situation taxi drivers are facing and their life-or-death struggle to get City Hall to take action. Mouhamadou Aliyu is a longtime taxi owner-driver in New York City and a member of the New York Taxi Workers Alliance; Bhairavi Desai is the executive director of the New York Taxi Workers Alliance.
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