Updated: Oct 23, 2021
Taxi drivers part of the New York Taxi Workers' Alliance have begun a hunger strike as they continue to protest against the lack of support the industry has seen since the pandemic took its toll on the city's trade, and the ever-increasing level of debt taxi medallion owners are falling into.
Bhairavi Desai, the Executive Director of the NYTWA, said: "The New York Taxi Workers Alliance will begin a hunger strike at the entrance to City Hall on Broadway and Murray Street.
"The strike will begin with an interfaith prayer, followed by remarks from drivers and elected allies.
"Each day, more and more people in this city are realising the injustice that Mayor De Blasio and the Taxi and Limousine Commission are perpetrating against New York's taxi drivers.
"From everyday workers to the most powerful elected officials in this state, the coalition that has rallied to support us is broad, strong, and more committed than ever to victory.
"The city thinks it can ignore us, but they're wrong. For thousands of drivers across New York, this is a matter of life and death.
"We will not sit back and let the city consign us to a lifetime of poverty and death in a debt trap. We will be in the streets until we get what's owed: a city-backed guarantee on medallion debt that allows for real relief."
The price of taxi medallions increased before the pandemic hit, causing many owners to plummet into huge debt as the value has recently dramatically decreased.
One taxi driver who has joined the hunger strike has said he is currently in $490,000 worth of debt on his taxi medallion. Augustine Tang said: "We've been shutting down bridges, we've been protesting outside City Hall, outside Gracie Mansion.
"We're telling the city this isn't an issue we can just let go. This is why we have to escalate it right now."