No bailout for NYC taxi drivers struggling with debt, says Mayor

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NYC Medallion owners and supporters during a hearing held at City Hall last month on the role the Taxi and Limousine Commission played in a crisis in the yellow cab industry. Photo: Demetrius Freeman for The New York Times

New York City, USA — With very low pay and reckless loans for medallions, many cabbies are falling into overwhelming debt. And to combat this, city leaders are doing everything that they can to prevent NYC taxi drivers from drowning deeper into debt.

In fact, they have begun enforcement proceedings against brokers who arranged the loans, arrested a debt collector, and even written new rules.

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However, there is still one more missing that drivers are pushing for: a bailout for the cabbies who are still struggling.

“It’s great to say ‘never again,’ but it’s not enough,” said Mark Levine, a member of the City Council. “It’s just incredibly frustrating that all of the response has been about trying to prevent further fraud and abuse going forward without doing anything about the fraud and abuse that has already occurred.”

According to Mayor Bill de Blasio’s review of the taxi industry crisis, the city hall calls for more oversight and tighter rules – not a bailout.

Furthermore, the city had already agreed to waive $10 million in fees owed by taxi operators. They are also offering a driver assistance center to give financial counseling and mental health services to NYC taxi drivers.

Hence, a full bailout would cost billions, the office said. The local government estimated it could cost about $13 billion.

Moreover, the mayor’s comments in a recent radio interview were considered by the City Hall. He said that a lot of people in the city are suffering and that not everybody can be bailed out.

“We don’t have to buy it all back, but we need to do something,” Councilor Ydanis Rodriguez said. “City Hall needs to work with us to figure this out.”

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