Taxi Driver Suicides is Latest Propaganda Push Against Uber

Via The Daily Bell

The Lie: Taxi drivers are committing suicide because of competition from rideshare companies like Uber.

The Truth: New York City forced cab drivers to buy limited supply medallions in order to operate a taxi.

This artificially limited the supply of taxis, drove up costs for consumers, and drove up salaries for taxi drivers.

When Uber empowered individuals to earn a living driving without regard for the market-killing regulations, the value of the taxi medallions dropped from $1 million to under $200,000.

Cab drivers who had taken out loans to pay off their million dollar medallion found themselves in financial ruin, owing more on their loan than their medallion was worth. Anyone who planned to sell the medallion to fund their retirement was screwed.

But they weren’t screwed by Uber, they were screwed by New York City. Their terrible financial problems, which are increasing the rate of suicide, are a result of New York City sticking its hands in the economy.

Government intervention into the market always leads to unintended consequences.

The cabbies were fine with these consequences when it protected them from competition and kept the price of taxis artificially high.

But now that technology and competition have delivered a better product to New Yorkers, taxi drivers want more regulation to protect their jobs.

  • The New York Taxi Worker Alliance (NYTWA) is calling for New York City Hall to “cap the number of vehicles flooding our streets; create a wage floor for drivers in all sectors….establish fare labor standards for FHV drivers and provide immediate relief to struggling yellow cab owner-drivers,” according to a press release on Monday.
  • The NYTWA and Independent Drivers Guild (IDG) are united in wanting more money for drivers, Wired reports: The IDG wants apps to raise the minimum wage by 37%, and the NYTWA wants New York City to raise yellow cab rates.
  • Both the NYTWA and IDG want NYC “to cap the number of new entrants, as they worry that demand isn’t keeping pace with increasing supply of drivers,” per Wired.

The Independent Drivers Guild continued:

Until there are living wage rules to protect for-hire vehicle drivers and a halt on new drivers entering the industry, the desperation will continue.

The customer demand is for more drivers to enter the industry. And yet the IDG wants a cap on new drivers in the industry.

I guess the new drivers’ jobs don’t matter. Regulations will protect the old jobs, the established class, and prevent any upstarts from coming onto their turf.

Why does the taxi industry exist again? Is it to provide jobs, or to serve customers?

The customers want a cheaper ride that they can order on their phone.

And there are plenty of people willing to drive them for less than it costs to get a cab.

So I guess the taxi drivers’ skills and services aren’t worth as much as they thought.

Maybe instead of appealing to the government to protect their racket, they should sue the government for losses incurred by being forced to buy a worthless medallion.


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divingengineer Sat, 06/23/2018 - 16:46 Permalink

Do the yellow cab services have a hailing  app yet?

 If not, they still haven’t taken the first step in competing with Uber or Lyft.

 Many people might even understand the taxis have higher overhead and be willing to pay a bit more for a yellow taxi if they had the ride hailing app. 

True Blue divingengineer Sat, 06/23/2018 - 17:03 Permalink

They aren't trying to compete against anyone; the whole point of their precious 'medallion' system was to cut off upstart competition.

Yes, I understand that they have higher overhead (as a result of their own actions) and I wouldn't pay more just to subsidize their attempted monopoly -in fact I would do almost anything to avoid their product or service based solely on their strong-arm tactics. Exempla gratia: I like Linux -not because it is a great OS, but because it isn't Microsoft.

They made this particular bed; they can lie down and die in it for all I care.

In reply to by divingengineer

cheech_wizard True Blue Sun, 06/24/2018 - 09:25 Permalink

> I like Linux -not because it is a great OS, but because it isn't Microsoft.

Then you're also an idiot. Linux is indeed a great OS, as was Unix that came before. Microsoft was and always will be crap.

Consider this, Microsoft has been in existence for 43 years, so have they gotten it right yet? Have they got the bugs out or at the very least hired coders less prone to make the same coding errors as their predecessors?

"A string of ones and zeroes was not a difficult thing for Bill Gates to distribute, once he'd thought of the idea. The hard part was selling it--reassuring customers that they were actually getting something in return for their money."

(sort of like Bitcoin, or for that matter all other "cryptocurrency" strings of ones and zeroes)...

For those that prefer a historical background, see the Standard Disclaimer.

Standard Disclaimer: In the Beginning...was the Command Line (read the essay).


In reply to by True Blue

U4 eee aaa Sat, 06/23/2018 - 17:26 Permalink

Uber is a scam that sells a job to people desperate to work but not smart enough to understand the costs of running a vehicle. It's willful slavery and it has been going on the the businesses connected to your own vehicle use for a long time

PigMan Sat, 06/23/2018 - 18:46 Permalink

Taxi drivers are committing suicide because they can not support their families.

Uber drivers are committing suicide because they can not support their families.

snblitz Sat, 06/23/2018 - 18:50 Permalink

Original article is fake news.

The Lie:

Cab drivers who had taken out loans to pay off their million dollar medallion found themselves in financial ruin.

The Truth:

Cab drivers rarely own the medallions. They do have "taxi medallion licenses" which means they are licensed to drive medallion cabs. 

Generally the "medallions" are owned by companies that hire licensed medallion drivers to drive the cabs.

In most cities, hired drivers actually pay a fee to drive the cab.  Generally around $100 per shift.  So the cab driver starts out in the hole $100 each shift.

Sometime around 1986 President Reagan's administration tried to fix the medallion problem, but it was never carried out.

Are the companies that hold the medallions losing their shirts to uber? No doubt.

It should be clear to all ZH readers, that pitching "saving the cabbies" in terms of the drivers is a better sell than "save the mega-corps".


MK ULTRA Alpha snblitz Sun, 06/24/2018 - 03:15 Permalink

I was wondering when someone would tell it like it is, this is the second bell article which was way off.

Most all of the journalist are young kids with no experience, womb to school, then off to university, next stop a desk, never exposed to the real world and ALWAYS, the reporters are experts on everything. It's too easy to see. No work experience, nothing but an empty mind filled with television fantasy.

I worked as cab driver, Uber broke all the rules and has now over saturated the market so their scam causes workers to lose big, the other part, Uber is subsidizing each and every ride, the burn rate will eventually sink Uber.

Uber and the other ride sharing do not have the mandatory insurance municipal sanctioned cab companies are required to have, in the case of an accident in Uber, I doubt a million or half a million will be handed out. And many cases now, Uber put the liability on the driver.

I can go on and on, and here I read an article in which the author for a second time is so far off, it wasn't worth reading. In the future I will remember the TDB and avoid clicking on clink bait which I now see is so far out it's pathetic. The author is in good company with the other young minds making stories up that are patently false.

How about the other day when the drunk was going to be put in prison, he had four convictions, but the author says, he hasn't had an accident. So the idea is he is allowed to drive drunk? I wonder if the author is just protesting to protest because this is beyond parochial it's stupid.

In reply to by snblitz

mark3383 Sat, 06/23/2018 - 23:20 Permalink

Most taxi drivers are decent folks. You get the occasional psycho. Its sad Uber is just a far better model. That said there will always be a demand for on demand car service in major cities so it could be a decent time to pick up these medallions. Especially since Uber has managed to figure out how to lose billions on their business model and will likely need to hike fares 50% to make it profitable 


cbxer55 Sun, 06/24/2018 - 00:35 Permalink

Only taxi I use is my feet or a bike. I can throw a bike in the back of either truck I own, drop the truck for service and ride the bike home. Ride the bike back to pick up the truck when the service, or recall is done. 

WHen I drop one of my motorcycles to get something done, I walk the five miles home. When they call and say it's done, I walk back. 

Fuck taxis. They drive so slowly, make an effort to get caught at every light, anything they can do to make the "fare" higher. I'd rather walk ten miles uphill in a snowstorm, than hail any paid driver. 

StinkyLebinowitz Sun, 06/24/2018 - 04:42 Permalink

I seriously did look into driving for Uber or Lyft. From my previous job I knew the government uses $.50 a mile for wear and tear, insurance, fuel, depreciation etc, for the cost of using a personal vehicle for work. The only way to beat that amount is to drive an old small POS that costs next to nothing when you buy it. Uber won't let you drive an old small POS, you have to be driving a nice ride. For those $.50 is dead on the money, when all is said and done. 

When I took that $.50 per mile cost off of projected Uber income, the gas station up the street paying $11 per hour would have made me rich a lot quicker!

brooklinite8 Sun, 06/24/2018 - 05:09 Permalink

Have you guys heard any of the following terms .. Bicycle, Motorcycle and Subway. Nothing beats subways in the winter. Yes they are incredibly slow, dirty with mind numbing experience out of a horror movie. Especially the slow moving 6 that takes for ever to stop with that ear bursting screeching noise it makes right before. Lets look at the bright side. When you have a book to read, what a way to spend time commuting. Lighter on the wallet. 2.75 a ride. Can't beat that.

To the next one: Motorcycle - Its like cooking. Most modern day kids don't know any out door skills to save money. Motorcycle and cooking will save loads of money if you follow the speed limits and cheap grocery store logic. Easy parking, good on gas again great on wallet and even insurance doesn't sound like a scam when your ride a motorcycle. Almost 100 USD a year. It could be lot cheaper if I lived in Kansas or some where remote. Love looking at people while passing especially when the traffic is standstill getting close to the stop light when they are sitting all the way back. I swear people envy the motorcyclers for the nimbleness and the convenience. Oh another thing finding a parking spot is a cake walk. Any where in the city I bet you, the longest it has taken me was 5 min. 

To the best one: Bicycle - Another way to spend time commuting and get your heart rate going. I am addicted to biking. I love the speed cruising through the traffic. When I lived in Brooklyn I did all my stuff on my bicycle. I even had a back pack for my dog to ride with me. No Insurance, No scams, Just buy a U lock and few nice looking biking caps to go with it. You are all set. Also have  an extra tire kit for a rainy day and  your in good hands. For a guy as cheap as me, an investment on a medallion sounds like golden goose, tulip bulb scam all put in one basket. Is it just me or am I not seeing the bright side of future earnings of the medallions.

Uber is how the cab industry should be. Yes of course the pay is less. For the damage that these cars do to the roads, environment, traffic jams and so forth I am surprised cars are not taxed heavily. Why would you even sit in a car as a passenger. Its boring as hell. On top of it losing cognitive skills and gaining weight listening to the over rated radio shows. Forget being a driver spending time commuting in one of the big cities in the good old usa. These discussions about apps, medallions is for pussies. Avoid scams and be cheap. Its healthy. You will get your heart beat going, must have read 100 books on a subway compared to sitting in traffic. Most of it all save some grief. Stay happy folks. Find ways to avoid the scammers. Peace. Oh forgot sleep really well too if you are not burning your bank account and after being super tired after couple hours of biking.

Share the road watch the bikers.. Be courteous folks.

Davidduke2000 Sun, 06/24/2018 - 07:59 Permalink

The writer is a moron of the first order.

You can not hit a regulated market with security checks and permits as well as top notch cars to drive people safely then dump on them a bunch of thugs that charge very little.

uber should offer to purchase all existing taxi permits at the going rates and offer the taxi drivers jobs and this in any country where uber operates.

destroying the lives of honest people who did what to do in terms of regulations, paid a fortune for their taxi permits and slip them a banana under them is a crime.

Taxi drivers owners should file a class action suit  against the government and uber combined forcing the repurchase of all permit at the price the taxi paid for.

wafm Sun, 06/24/2018 - 08:52 Permalink

Uber are fuckin gangsters, tax-evading lowlives and should be disbanded. Same as Airbnb and all those motherfuckers, they’re illegal.