A body found floating in the East River earlier this week was positively identified as cabbie Yumain “Kenny’ Chow – the latest financially struggling taxi driver to lose his life as the industry reels amid competition from ride-hail services like Uber and Gett (private ride-hail service in NY)
The 56-year-old, who left his car by the East River, was last seen on May 11. He had been stressed about a $700,000 mortgage on his taxi medallion that he couldn’t pay off.
“We are mourning today,” Richard Chow said in a family statement. “My brother lost hope as many other medallion owners looking for justice and fairness have.
“NYC has to act as soon as possible on bringing fairness and a level playing field to the taxi industry before other medallion owners gets so depressed so that, out of desperation, they take their own life.”
NY Taxi Workers Alliance Executive Director Bhairavi Desai noted that Chow’s income “plummeted” in the last five years “even as he worked increasingly grueling 14-hour-plus shifts to make ends meet.”
“Make no mistake: the crisis that took Kenny’s life and the lives of four others pushed to suicide in recent months was entirely preventable,” Desai fumed.
“City Hall allowed Uber, Gett and Lyft to expand unchecked, devastating the lives and livelihoods of New York City’s professional drivers. There are real human consequences to a business model predicated on destroying labor standards and treating workers as expendable.”
Kenny Chow moved to the US from Burma when he was in his twenties and bought his medallion in 2011, when rates were at a record high and just before Uber and other rideshare app companies moved into the New York City market, his brother said.
At least five for-hire drivers have taken their lives in the past six months.
Chow’s family filed a missing-person report May 12. Cops found his vehicle on 86th Street and East End Avenue, just a block from the East River.
Chow and his wife, who was recently diagnosed with cancer, were in such dire financial straights that they couldn’t pay for their daughter to go to college and she had to return home.
Chow’s family feared the worst after a man’s badly decomposed body was discovered floating in the East River near the Brooklyn Bridge on Wednesday morning.
Emergency responders pulled the decaying corpse from the water near Furman Street and Clarke Street in Brooklyn Heights at 9:30 a.m.
Watch sad plea put out by family for missing Taxi driver
Source : NYTimes
TAXI LEAKS EXTRA BIT:
Let’s not forget...in Dublin after deregulation of the Taxi trade, 50 Licensed Taxi drivers took their own lives