Taxi drivers gathered near City Hall for a public hearing of the Taxi and Limousine Commission to support soft loans for medallions.
February 10, 2022
Members of the Alliance of New York Taxi Workers gathered on February 8 near the New York City Hall for a public hearing of the Taxi and Limousine Commission on the promised debt relief they won in December. About 100 taxi drivers were present.
After the famine strike lasting two weeks from October to November, the NYTWA negotiated a debt relief agreement that led to Marblegate Asset Management complements the Taxi Medallion owner assistance program and forgives $ 70 million in debt.
Medallions are a mandatory permit that all taxi drivers buy to drive a stand-alone taxi in New York City. A study The New York Times found that medallion prices were deliberately raised by banks from 2002 to 2014, pushing taxi drivers into debt by fighting bank payments.
“In 2006, I bought the locket at auction in New York,” said Richard Chow, a NYTWA activist. “I bet $ 410,000 for it. Price at the time was insane; it rose to $ 1.1 million. My American dream came true, I made a good living, took care of my family and raised my child in college as a taxi driver. Now prices have dropped to 70-80 thousand dollars. This is the worst time since the pandemic. More people will lose their jobs. “
During the public hearing, the commission proposed that the $ 200,000 loan receive a $ 30,000 grant supported by the city, and the remaining $ 170,000 be amortized at 5% interest over the next 20 years.
State Senator Jessica Ramos (D-Queens) said during her testimony at the public hearing that many opinions are needed to ensure that all loans are covered and the owners of the medallions will receive loan relief. Ramos stressed that drivers should be included in these talks.
“No decisions about working people should be made without them at the table,” Ramos said. “I thank TLC for starting this process with open hearings and remain committed to the immigrant workers who organized a just solution to this terrible crisis.”
У hearing testimony, Ramos said the medallion program must fulfill the city’s promises regarding debt repayment. She said it entails stricter rules that prevent lenders from deciding which loans to restructure, re-renewal of cash disbursement proposals and qualification for medallion loan benefits.
While Ramos and taxi workers await the promised changes, NYTWA organizer Mohammad Tipu Sultan hope there will be no unexpected changes.
“It has to be rulemaking, the TLC has to approve it, and today we are giving evidence on that basis,” Sultan said. “We want to make sure the rule is followed. We want this problem to be solved as soon as possible, and no driver to lose his job. ”
Contact Zhuoer Liu on [email protected]