“That’s six drivers who lost their lives because the city of New York did not do its job and regulate Wall Street companies that came into town with little to no regulation,” Desai stated throughout a press convention on Monday.
“We are living in one of the wealthiest cities across this globe. How is it possible that you have professional workers that have been driven to suicide because the poverty is so crushing and because there is such a sense of hopelessness, because of political inaction?” she added.
Desai, joined by Rep. Adriano Espaillat, D-N.Y., referred to as on town council to vote on a number of proposals that may mitigate the results of ride-sharing apps reminiscent of Uber and Lyft on town’s cab drivers.
“All we’re asking for is a cap on the number of vehicles. We now have 130,000 cars competing for the same set of fares that 65,000 cars used to do five years ago,” she stated. “The math doesn’t add up, and that deficit means less money for food, less money for rent, less time with their families.”
The alliance can also be asking for metropolis council members to set an trade commonplace of fares, to arrange retirement funds for all drivers, and to work with lenders to decrease rates of interest for yellow cab drivers struggling to sustain with debt funds for his or her expensive taxi medallions, amongst different issues.
The medallions have lengthy been a requirement to function a cab in New York. Ride-hailing providers do not want such medallions.
The New York Taxi Workers Alliance additionally represents black-car drivers in addition to drivers for Uber and Lyft. In her impassioned plea to metropolis officers, Desai additionally referred to as for protections for Uber and Lyft drivers — not a ban on them.
“All we need is basic regulation that not only protects the livery, the black-car, the yellow-cab and green-cab driver, but also the Uber and the Lyft driver. We said we’re brothers and sisters on the streets. We’re brothers and sisters in the struggle. We have fought for a way for everybody to survive,” she stated. “As a result, people aren’t just starving or being evicted, facing homelessness, they are now dying.”
Saleh, the motive force who took his life final week, had been working so long as 12-hour shifts for the previous seven years, Desai stated final week. He had been provided a possibility to drive with Uber however needed to proceed driving a yellow cab, she stated.
She stated that with no retirement funds, switching to Uber or Lyft would solely lead to taxi drivers falling deeper into poverty.
On Monday, Desai referred to as on different cab drivers to attain out for help in the event that they wanted it.
“There is help. Don’t you dare give up,” she stated. “You have a movement behind you that cares for and supports you.”
If you or somebody you already know is in disaster, name the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255, textual content TALK to 741741 or go to SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources for extra sources.