Earlier this month, a cash-strapped taxi driver in Queens took his own life. But the tragedy was hardly a unique situation: he was the eighth cab industry suicide in the past year as ride-sharing companies like Uber and Lyft continue to rise in popularity.
Driving a cab and owning your own taxi medallion used to be a path to a comfortable middle-class existence for many New Yorkers, especially immigrants. But since 2012, ride-sharing apps have flooded New York streets with new cars, undercutting yellow cab prices and depressing wages.
The value of a medallion, which gives cabbies the exclusive right to pick up street hails, has plummeted from its peak of over a million dollars to less than $200,000 today. It affected the industry across the board — even the president's former personal attorney, Michael Cohen, lost millions after amassing around 30 medallions. But it left some cabbies, who had invested their live savings in buying a medallion and were counting on this as their retirement fund, in complete financial ruin.
Colin Quinn, the comedian and life-long New Yorker, is not nostalgic for the days where he was unable to get a cab to take him to Brooklyn. But it pains him to think that this new technology could spell the end for the yellow cab, one of New York City's most iconic sights.
VICE News sent Quinn to ride along with some drivers to figure out what happened to them and their livelihood — and what they think the city owes its cab drivers.
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VICE News sent Quinn to ride along with some drivers to figure out what happened to them and their livelihood — and what they think the city owes its cab drivers.
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DeBlasio too busy spending Billions of NYC tax dollars on *Mental Healthcare* spending hundreds of millions on new facilities and billions more supporting Medical Gaslighting, Medical Upcoding, and 33% kickbacks, plus the water quality going down due too conspiracy in Water Filtration Plants and NO NOT JUST FLOURIDE, there is shady shit going on
The most sickening thing about Uber is not the company themselves, but the people who use Uber. The majority of Uber users identify as liberal according to Pew Research. But those same liberals when asked if it should be regulated say nope. Liberals are about increasing the minimum wage, but are ok using a company who's drivers make below minimum wage? These fucking hypocrites are only liberal when doesn't inconvenience them
OUTRAGEOUS. City officials who let Uber into a government controlled market (without paying a medallion type fee) should have offered cabbies some kind of reimbursement. Cabbies must abide by many state regulations and due to the costs of operating, the market competition is unfair. Uber/Lyft have many unfair advantages.
Also, uber isn’t as accessible for those with disabilities and it’s just very hard for companies to be so unregulated in a city like NY. Those who can’t afford smartphones? No uber. Those who can’t get credit/debit cards? No uber. Let’s not forget New York is made up of much more than hipsters and college kids.
I feel bad for some of the drivers, but regular cabs failed to develop with the times. Dinosaurs die. It's similar in a lot of places/countries. I know a couple slightly older cabbies and they just don't seem to understand the value of appified easiness and even just slightly lower prices have to the customers. Just have this mentality of this is how it's been done and so it should keep being done the same way...
If I was one the Yellow cab driver every Friday I would get like 40 to 50 cab driver to drive around Manhattan at 5 mph or less an hour very slow Not pick up passengers as a form of Protest. Alot better then killing ur self. Man the Traffic nightmare cab drivers can cause city of NYC is lucky am not a yellow cab driver I would make nyc pay for it's under the table money taking from uber
If you ever washed dishes as a job and you start doing something else other than dishes like driving you wont go back to being a dishwasher unless it pays better and I mean a lot better than your new driving job
I agree with Colin, it's eventually in the near future going to be gone. My prediction in the next three years the real estate agent for the buyer is almost eliminated, the seller's agent role will be extremely diminished to the point where most agents who can't make a living now will be forced out permanently. The internet which is great is eating up a lot of industries because it's giving the consumer easy access to many things. Those of you who are reading look around your cubicle, your job maybe one day be replaced by an app or a website. Most jobs are not secure anymore.
People who are saying this is Social Darwinism and its okay are the most ignorant posters here. No jobs other then skilled labor is safe anymore, and really those jobs are not worth the cost. You'll sell labor for a slightly above average wage to maybe a great wage (for older guys), and a retirement with a broken, painful maybe crippled body. One example is accounting software is getting exponentially better every year, I say 20 years and half of accounting jobs will be eliminated. If anyone wants an industry its happened to already look at stock brokerages, software eliminated most of the jobs. One computer can do the same job as a hundred brokers. These cabbies were promised protection for their jobs, and uber came along and found a loophole and officials do nothing.
People are screaming now, "you're not adapting to the technological times!" or "business is business!" And then when Uber and Lyft comes with automated driving and all of these Uber and Lyft drivers lose their jobs and livelihoods, then they'll really see that just cause it's technologically available, doesn't mean it's good for society as a whole.
"If you are black and you try to get a taxi in this city you're in trouble"
Translation: if you're a taxi in this city, good luck getting paid by black people because they're gonna dash, and if you discriminate because your income is being hurt, then you're the bad guy.
When are we gonna talk about the lumberjack-ocalypse. Thanks VICE.
The CDC's occupational suicide list:
1. Farmworkers, fishermen, lumberjacks, others in forestry or agriculture (85 suicides per 100,000)
2. Carpenters, miners, electricians, construction trades (53)
3. Mechanics and those who do installation, maintenance, repair (48)
4. Factory and production workers (35)
5. Architects, engineers (32)
6. Police, firefighters, corrections workers, others in protective services (31)
7. Artists, designers, entertainers, athletes, media (24)
8. Computer programmers, mathematicians, statisticians (23)
9. Transportation workers (22)
10. Corporate executives and managers, advertising and public relations (20)
11. Lawyers and workers in legal system (19)
12. Doctors, dentists and other health care professionals (19)
13. Scientists and lab technicians (17)
14. Accountants, others in business, financial operations (16)
15. Nursing, medical assistants, health care support (15)
16. Clergy, social workers, other social service workers (14)
17. Real estate agents, telemarketers, sales (13)
18. Building and ground, cleaning, maintenance (13)
19. Cooks, food service workers (13)
20. Child care workers, barbers, animal trainers, personal care and service (8)
The entire system is corrupt and a monopoly prior to uber and Lyft so what they should do is leave the taxi and join uber and Lyft if they want to succeed. The longer they wait the longer they will continue a downward spiral. Is there a reason they dont join uber or Lyft? In my opinion Don't wait for a corrupt system to be rearranged. Control your future by hustling and make money through other means. There are so many ways to make up the income you need to survive in this country, especially in a big city like New York.
commiting suicide because of uber competition????gimmie a friggen break,i lost my job after 25 years, along with 400 other guys, when the place shut down,not one guy commited suicide,went out the next day, and started looking for another job,it took 6 months,but i got another job,ya starting all over again wasnt the most pleasent experience,but gratitude really helped.........
Let’s compare yellow cabs to uber.
By now Uber is transparent about how much a ride will cost you even before you confirm the pickup. With yellow cabs you are always at the mercy of the meter and slow traffic and detours literally cost you money. Very stressful.
Uber lets me pay with a credit card. Yellow cabs often say their credit card machine is “broken.”
It’s no hassle for me to get an uber (or similar service). To get a yellow cab I need to stand outside waving at a parade of cars that may or may not stop for me, and when I get in they may or may not make a stink about driving me to where in want to go.
Because the uber pickup system is integrated with GPS and online maps, the driver has a clear route to follow even if they aren’t personally familiar with the destination. The last time I took a yellow cab the driver did not know if Houston street was uptown or downtown...
The ride hailing system is simply a superior customer experience. You expect me to shed a tear that the overpriced inferior service is going out of business just because a lot of immigrants do the job?
The whole medallion system was just a way for New York and other cities to scam drivers...it's basically a licence to taxinyou pay hundreds of thousands of dollars for....if any other profession had to pay 100k to be able to work...not education but just to work there'd be outrage but it's a mafia New York politicians made to suck money from taxi drivers...one of the stupidest systems I ever heard...akin to communism saying how many workers in each field we need and regulating it.
Cab drivers enjoyed a government funded monopoly scheme for a while, they chose to buy into it. It destroyed it's own market and now they have no choice but to change if they don't want to lose. Sucks that their credentials (cab license) became worthless, but the same thing can happen with any investment- they can tank. It was a risk to do in the first place, and they bet wrong. Plus they reaped the rewards for a very long time.
Every job I've had either had a suicide, accident, or murder issue. Delivery driver top 10 in murders, military and Lyft/Uber driver - suicide, saw mill - well you can guess. I thought myself lucky I only ever smashed my fingers and got heat exhausted a few times.
Start buying back medallions get drivers back to square one so At least they don’t have medallion debt. The city/state sold medallions as a guarantee that theyd be the only taxis if uber is allowed then the promise is broken.
Shocked how little sympathy people in the comments have towards these cabbies. Yes the medallion system created a way to control supply and keep wages higher and therefore they had decent jobs. Uber is good for the consumers they dont have as many regulations to deal with. But now uber and lyft drivers are complaining about low pay and to many other people driving ubers. Sucks for the guys who still have medallions, either uber should have to follow taxi rules or taxis shouldn’t have to follow the rules either like licensing/insurance etc.
I wouldn't and don't support Uber right now for one reason only. Uber does not require background checks. Cab companies do. You never know if you're getting some guy who's been in jail a few times etc. You do not know. A lot of people can't find work if they're ex-cons especially and are turning to things like Uber and other things that won't even ask them if they've ever been incarcerated. Just saying. I don't support Uber, never have and never will. Support local cabbies. It's a lot harder to become one and they'll not only arrive faster usually they're also way more guaranteed to be professional than some random Uber driver could ever claim to be.
Once again people who don't understand innovation. Yellow cabs will died unless they innovate. It's not morals or good feelings that drive the markets its innovation. It's innovation that will save the world not politicians or government interference.
Honestly , yellow cabs are still preferable when you wanna go down a couple of streets. Or you near one of those taxi lines. If your in a condensed area, getting an Uber can actually be even MORE difficult. Uber is more convenient when your in the boroughs in your own home and you tryna get to the city
I took a cab from Fort Lauderdale airport to Adventura and it cost me $50. The driver was driving around, took the long way and that’s why he jacked up the cost so high. A 15 minute ride at the most took 25 to 30 minutes. Because he was trying to get in my pocket. I took a Lyft to that same location when I came back to Florida and it was only $25. I’m sorry, I don’t feel sorry for them. Especially if you try to scam me in the Uber/lyft era. You’re dug your own grave for decades before Uber/Lyft and now people are supposed to feel sorry for you, FOH.
yea once again a state/city government was invested in (the medallion) by its own residents and it has failed! But a "BIG" business venture capitalized and the state/city still get tax dollars... work for the people my ass!
Only 8 in a year and this is considered a crisis? Seriously? 21 vets a day kill themselves, sorry I really don’t feel bad for the cab drivers. Nothing stays the same forever, things change. Either adapt or die. Thats reality.
Honestly, I don't feel bad for cabbies. Yellow cab consistently sucked every time I've used it. They always want cash, they take the long way to make you pay more money, rude, and nasty cars. No thanks. Uber and Lyft are so much better.
oh the bitter swing of the pendulum... cab rides ALWAYS sucked, and they couldn't be bothered to treat people decently because they had no incentive.. and now because we have finally a decent alternative experience we are supposed to feel pity.. take that medallion and shove it up yur' Ash
I dont feel bad for them. They are to expensive. Charge weather you move or not. Arrive late sometimes an hr or more late. Capitalism adapt to the market or provide a better cheaper option. These guys can quit and uber when they lose the cab.
The city always had the say in how many taxi medallions can be put out per year which is why taxis have always been so limited, but they have no say in how many uber or lyft cars are out there since those are owned by private companies which is why it’s so hard for the taxi business to compete with the uber/lyft business.
People complain about socialism but when capitalism does its job, oh no it is the end of the world. Yellow Cabs had a state owned monopoly. Uber and Lyft added competition to the market. THAT is capitalism, buying medallions from a local municipality to have exclusive rights is socialism. If you want to support unfair criminal practices, keep supporting the yellow cabs. If you want to support your economy support and regulate ride hailing/sharing services.
Listen to this guy at 5:38
"people can go back to what they were doing", "they were washing dishes, they can go back to that"
His shit attitude threw me off. I was kind of sympathizing how hard it must have been the transitioning was but I remember now some cab drivers being like that is also a big part of Uber's success.
I live in Brooklyn, half the yellow cabs didn't ever wanna go to Brooklyn from Manhattan (until gentrification), and you can't find yellows around my crib.
Uber and Lyft completely leveled the playing field for outer borough residents and I feel no sympathy for the yellows
Yellow taxi London cabs need to adapt, make a app, take card payments, they're are card payment like iZettle sumup which are right for taxi but you talk to uber drivers they are not happy coz uber take so much commission so I wouldn't work for neither
City is going to have to buy back the medallions and rebrand yellow cab system. Either subsidize them and undercut uber or go opposite way and make them luxury experiences with TVs and heated seats and whatnot.
NY is synonymous w yellow cabs so they'll be reluctant to go the path of least resistance and let the system die out.
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