NYTWA Statement on the Passage of Congestion Pricing and the Impact on Taxi Drivers

Bhairavi Desai, Executive Director of the New York Taxi Workers Alliance (she/her), released the following statement: 

"Now, as the legislature waives off the congestion surcharge on private cars for another two years, taxi drivers will be still stuck in the same traffic they didn't cause, trying to survive on an uneven playing field, during the worst financial crisis in the industry in generations, and without new fares that were promised to be generated once private motorists entering Manhattan opted to park and hail in order to offset the loss in ridership. The entire Congestion Surcharge plan passed to date is meant to crush Uber and Lyft's competitors while the companies go for their IPOs this year. Yellow cab drivers are being singled out with this tax even though the cars are at a record low number and are not new to the zone, causing the congestion, and despite an economic crisis that is absolutely crushing families and sinking them into deeper poverty and bankruptcy. The MTA meanwhile will remain underfunded as taxis lose ridership or go bankrupt. Our fight for the tax on yellow and green cabs to be repealed continues, now armed with more evidence that our tax was a set up all along."

Background on the Congestion Surcharge for Taxis

  • The Governor rushed a surcharge on taxis and For-Hire-Vehicles which went into effect on February 2nd, 2019 while a surcharge on private cars and trucks is forbidden by law to go into effect before December 2020.

  • The entire "yellow zone" of 96th Street and below and both the West Side Highway and FDR are taxed for drivers, while private cars will be taxed only after 60th Street and below and be exempt if they are driving through on either highway.

  • Meanwhile, Uber and Lyft can charge a concession rate of 75c tax as long as the passenger "requests" a group ride - even if the company does not match the trip with a second passenger.  

  • The entire Congestion Surcharge plan passed to date is meant to crush Uber and Lyft's competitors while the companies go for their IPO's this year, still not having monopolized.  

  • Yellow cab drivers are subject to the tax even though the cars are at a record low number and are not new to the zone, causing the congestion, and despite an economic crisis that is absolutely crushing families and sinking them into deeper poverty and bankruptcy.  

  • The MTA meanwhile will remain underfunded as taxis lose ridership and/or go bankrupt.  Albany put the cart before the horse and keeps whipping drivers' backs to move the cart faster.  It's not sustainable for the driver or for the MTA and it has nothing to do with congestion.  It's political favoritism to help companies get richer while a whole workforce is made more poor by the hour.

NYTWA Stands in Solidarity with Uber & Lyft Drivers on Strike in Los Angeles

Bhairavi Desai, Executive Director of the New York Taxi Workers Alliance (she/her), released the following statement: 

"The 21,000 Uber, Lyft, yellow taxi, green cab, black car, and livery drivers who together make up the New York Taxi Workers Alliance stand in solidarity with the Uber and Lyft drivers of Rideshare Drivers United making history today with their fearless strike.

"Here in New York, we have fought back and won a permanent stop to rate cuts with the minimum pay rule and a cap on new for-hire vehicles. But we still have a long way to go. Nine drivers in our city have now committed suicide because of crushing financial despair, including most recently Lyft driver Lu Wu. 

"We continue to fight for an end to this race to the bottom that is crushing drivers in every sector. We need one regulated metered rate of fare with most of that fare going to the drivers, along with a guaranteed minimum wage to establish an income floor -- without a ceiling 

"A study commissioned by NYC's Taxi and Limousine Comission found that 96 percent of App drivers were earning below minimum wage. Uber's new rates in Los Angeles would be sub-poverty. Uber and Lyft continue to destroy drivers' lives, leaving them in poverty and debt, as the companies saturate streets, cut rates and syphon revenue from passenger fares into their own pockets. 

"California has some of the strongest labor laws in the country but has been politically dominated by tech finance in the past few years. These powerful interests are lobbying for deregulation of taxi laws and transportation policy along with labor laws -- their latest attack on labor is an attempt to undermine California's historic Dynamex decision. But while giglords like Uber and Lyft try to court labor and other allies to give cover to their anti-worker business model and political machinations, Rideshare Drivers United is organizing and fighting back. 

"We are proud to stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters of Rideshare Drivers United, an allied organization of the Taxi Workers Alliance of Los Angeles, which is part of our National Taxi Workers Alliance. When workers stand together, militant in our resolve, we can win against even the most powerful corporations." 

Our action yesterday broke the Governor's silence!

Yesterday, we did a last minute motorcade around the Gov. office with posters, Tax the Rich Not the Poor!, and the Governor announced he would support a one of the three taxes we have been calling for - tax on luxury second homes (also called pied a terre tax) - which would bring in $650 Million to the state. Instead of hurting 25,000 workers and still leaving the MTA underfunded, there would be enough money through this tax on the super rich to allow an exemption for yellows and greens!

It's working!!!  KEEP UP THE PRESSURE! 

We have posters on 500+ taxis as of today.  Keep them on and spread the word for all drivers to PICK UP YOUR POSTER at the office or at the JFK Lot!  Let's get to 5,000 taxis with posters as we build up to our March 20th Albany Day Action!  It's simple, but it's powerful.  You can pick up new posters at the office (Mon-Fri 12pm - 8pm) and the JFK Taxi & FHV Lot! 

And get ready to go to Albany WEDNESDAY, MARCH 20th!

Check out video of yesterday’s motorcade on our Facebook!

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One month of suffering under the Congestion Surcharge.  Incomes already down 15%.  One month of silence from the Governor.  So we announced a motorcade last night at 11pm and by this morning, there was already a fortress around the Gov's office with barricades and police on every corner and side.  But that's ok, because we let the horns and signs do our talking - and you better believe a bunch of cab drivers weren't going to let our motorcade line be broken up!

They won't break our spirits.  But we will break their silence.  

Our actions are working, our movement is growing! DRIVER POWER, UNION POWER! 

 

 

TAX THE RICH, NOT THE POOR!

Yellows and Greens should be exempt from the Congestion Surcharge so drivers can survive. Another way is possible: three taxes on the SUPER RICH would raise $6 Billion for the State!

1) $3.5 Billion from Closing the income tax loopholes for hedge fund managers (people who sell stocks don't have to pay income tax on all of their sales).

2) $2.3 Billion a multi millionaires' tax. Right now, income above $1 million is all taxed the same rate. New tax would set up new tax brackets so $2, $5, $100 million income would be taxed at their own bracket rater than at $1 million.

3) $650 Million from luxury second home taxon homes valued at $5 million or more and are not the main home where the owner lives. 

KEEP UP YOUR CALLS!

Governor Cuomo: 518-474-8390
Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie: 518-455-3791
Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins: 518-455-2585 

Our Movement Is Growing! See Photos from Our Powerful Feb 26th Demonstration! Next Up: WEDNESDAY MARCH 6th POSTER ACTION DAY!

Thank you to the hundreds of drivers, family, and riders who made yesterday’s Demonstration Outside Governor Cuomo’s Office so powerful! Our crowd is getting bigger and bigger! Our movement is growing! At yesterday’s Demonstration, hundreds and hundreds of drivers from all sectors covered Third Avenue from 41st St all the way down to 40th St! Our voices were heard loud, strong, and clear outside Governor Cuomo's Office: "TAX THE RICH, NOT THE POOR!" "EXEMPT YELLOWS AND GREENS, DO THE RIGHT THING!"

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Now it's time to spread our message of TAX THE RICH, NOT THE POOR all across the city!
Get Ready For
WEDNESDAY MARCH 6th
POSTER ACTION DAY!

As you drive on the streets and avenues across the city on March 6th, display NYTWA's Poster on the hood or trunk of your car to show Driver Unity and raise public awareness to our struggle! Pick up your poster for March 6th Poster Action Day at our office anytime Monday thru Friday from 12noon to 8pm! We are at 31-10 37th Avenue, Suite 300 LIC, NY 11101. You won't lose time or money over this action and it will be a powerful show of unity - all drivers, show your power!

Stop by the office anytime Monday thru Friday, 12noon to 8pm to pick up your poster for next Wednesday, March 6th!

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And Don’t Forget to Keep Making Your Calls!
Governor Cuomo: 518-474-8390
Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie: 518-455-3791
Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins: 518-455-2585

When you call tell them what you drive (yellow/green/livery) and that you are a member of the Taxi Workers Alliance and want them to exempt yellows and greens from the Congestion Surcharge!

See You TOMORROW, Feb. 26th. Outside Gov Cuomo's Office to say: TAX THE RICH NOT THE POOR! + Don’t Forget to Call Your Representatives!

At the airports and all across the city we have been spreading the word and mobilizing for our Demonstration Outside Governor Cuomo's Office THIS Tuesday, Feb. 26th! Get ready to make your voice heard as we tell him: Tax the Rich, Not the Poor! Exempt Yellow and Green Cabs from the Congestion Surcharge NOW!

DEMONSTRATION OUTSIDE GOVERNOR CUOMO’S OFFICE
To Tell Him: EXEMPTION NOW!!
TOMORROW, FEB. 26th
1:00pm
633 Third Avenue
(between 40th and 41st St)

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And as we mobilize for tomorrow’s Demonstration, let's keep up the pressure by making phone calls to elected officials asking them to support the exemption!

MAKE YOUR CALLS! KEEP IT UP!

GOVERNOR ANDREW CUOMO: 518-474-8390

ASSEMBLY SPEAKER CARL HEASTIE: 518-455-3791

SENATE MAJORITY LEADER ANDREA STEWART-COUSINS: 518-455-2585

We also need to keep up the pressure on State Senators and Assembly Members by flooding their offices with calls! You can look up your representatives by entering your address at this link for your Assembly Member and at this link for your State Senator. Or call the office at 718-706-9892 or email media@nytwa.org so we can look them up for you!

When you call your Senator or Assembly Member, you can use this script:

My name is ___, and I am a member of your district. I drive [yellow cab/green cab], and I am a member of the Taxi Workers Alliance. I need an exemption from the Congestion Pricing surcharge because I cannot afford to lose any more income. More than 90% of my fares take place in the affected zone, and I could lose up to $15,000 per year in income at a time when I am already struggling. I need the assembly member/senator to support an exemption for yellow and green cabs! 

NYTWA Statement on Uber Suing NYC to Stop Vehicle Cap

Earlier today, Uber sued New York City to stop the cap on for-hire-vehicles.

Brothers and Sisters: Stay Alert! Stay Active! These companies are trying to bully and create chaos with their wealth. We are ready. Our fight back continues and only gets stronger. Driver Power, Union Power!

Together, we will win and protect our victories, our livelihoods, our lives!

Read our statement below.

 Bhairavi Desai, Executive Director of the New York Taxi Workers Alliance (she/her), released the following statement: 

 "Eight drivers have now died by suicide because of the crisis Uber created. That's why Uber drivers and yellow cab drivers from across the city united to win the historic cap on for-hire-vehicles -- to put an end to the financial despair, debt, and poverty that is literally killing our brothers.  With more than 80,000 Uber cars on our roads, no driver can get enough fares to feed our families. Uber created this crisis of congestion on our streets. Uber caused this crisis of plummeting incomes for all drivers. And Uber is worsening the MTA crisis, siphoning income away from public transit by subsidizing its passenger fares. 

 “Yet, here and across the globe, Uber thinks it is above the law. The company wants the right to add more and more cars to our streets without limit. But there is a very human cost to Uber's business practices. Uber is arguing that the congestion surcharge on taxis, something the company lobbied for, makes the cap unnecessary. But Uber created this congestion. Uber's logic is a real head scratcher. The absurdity would be laughable if the consequences on drivers hadn't been so tragic."

We Told Albany: WE WON'T GIVE UP! Next Up: Demonstration on Feb. 26th Outside Governor's Manhattan Office!

THANK YOU to the 200+ drivers and families who made our Albany Action Day last week so powerful! Our caravan of yellow cabs and FHV’s filled the streets of Albany with the sound of our horns. Inside the Capitol, the noise of our chanting echoed throughout the building: “No More Suicides! No More Bankruptcies” “Tax the Rich! NOT the Poor!”

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Now We’re Getting Ready To…

Fill the Streets Outside the Governor’s Office!
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 26th
1:00pm
633 Third Avenue
Tell the Governor: Tax the Rich, NOT the Poor! Exemption for Yellow and Green Cabs NOW!

In the meantime, call your Senators and Assembly Members to tell them yellow and green cabs need an exemption! If you want to know who your legislators are, use this link to look up your State Assembly Member and use this link to look up your State Senator. You can also call us at 718-706-9892 or email us at media@nytwa.org and we can look them up for you!

Check Out Our Twitter to See Videos from Albany Action Day!