NYC Pledges $65 Million of Taxi Aid That Drivers Call ‘Horrible’
(Bloomberg) -- New York City is creating a $65 million fund to help taxi medallion owners, but drivers called the plan “a disgraceful betrayal from a city that already has blood on its hands.”
The proposal, funded with federal stimulus money, will offer $20,000 loans to help restructure debts on taxi medallions, and as much as $9,000 in debt payment support, said Taxi and Limousine Commissioner Aloysee Heredia Jarmoszuk.
“I think this new plan will be a difference maker for many drivers,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said Tuesday.
But Bhairavi Desai, executive director of the 21,000-member Taxi Workers Alliance, said the plan is “horrible” and “does absolutely nothing for us.”
“It’s a cash bailout for lenders while we are left to drown in debt, foreclosure & bankruptcy,” Desai said in a Twitter post. “No debt forgiveness. No collective solution. No justice.”
In response, the mayor said, “It’s very easy to call for plans that aren’t going to work. Our job is to come up with solutions that will actually work.”
The market for taxi operating permits known as medallions has collapsed with the onset of the digital ride-hailing industry, leaving thousands of drivers facing financial ruin. Several have committed suicide.
The Alliance has called on the city to help convince and incentivize lenders to restructure their debt.
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