NEW YORK (FOX5NY.COM) - Yellow taxi and black car drivers say they are literally dying trying to survive. Colleagues say that four drivers have committed suicide in the past few months because of financial ruin.
Four coffins placed outside City Hall represent the drivers who have died by suicide in four months. The New York Taxi Workers Alliance and cab drivers say despair is growing in their industry because of unfair competition from companies like Uber and Lyft. Alliance President Bhairavi Desai said they are "sick and tired of burying [their] brothers."
Unlike yellow cabs, Uber and Lyft do not have city regulations dictating their fares and number of vehicles. And taxi medallions once bought for $1 million are now worth $200,000. One 61-year-old medallion owner said he is on the brink of bankruptcy.
Desai called on City Hall to "act now." The drivers want a cap on companies like Uber and Lyft to limit the number of cars and also want equal fare pricing.
Councilman Stephen Levin is among council members giving their support. He called for the passage of meaningful legislation.
The mayor's office issued a statement saying in part, "We've worked closely with the TLC and City Council to reduce regulations on drivers while balancing the need to protect customers and keep City streets safe—efforts which will continue as we seek to reduce the stresses drivers face."