November 14, 2018: 8th NYC Professional Driver Dead by Suicide

Yellow Cab Owner-Driver Roy Kim is the 8th NYC professional driver and third yellow cab owner-driver to die by suicide

On November 14, 2018, Bhairavi Desai, New York Taxi Workers Alliance Executive Director, released the following statement:

We are devastated by the news that an eighth New York City professional driver has died by suicide. Friends described Roy Kim as hardworking, quiet, and dignified. Roy worked six days a week up to 14 hours a day. Friends in his community of Korean yellow taxi drivers took him out to dinner to celebrate after he purchased his medallion in 2017. Owner-drivers have suffered a deep and vicious slide from the middle class into crushing poverty, in a just a few short years. This crisis can be fixed. The struggle for owner-drivers is reminiscent of the 2008 housing crisis. In that crisis, the industry, government, advocates, and philanthropy came to the table to find solutions. Now, banks and lenders need to work with the city and philanthropy to write off 20% of outstanding debts, lower interest rates, and restructure contracts so that no owner-driver has to lose more than 20% of their monthly income to the mortgage. Drivers need a buffer to stop sinking. And that means financial relief. While the city builds on the For-Hire-Vehicle cap and moves on a package of bills, including one that passed today on a Council Taskforce to study medallion debt, change can't come fast enough when every day is a struggle for drivers.

Since learning of Roy Kim's death from his friends, NYTWA has been working closely with his community to plan a payer ceremony.