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Taxi Drivers Will Not Be Getting Any Relief from NYC

From time to time, this issue comes up in discussions with the NYC Taxi Drivers that I have worked with over the past four years.

Unfortunately taxi drivers comprise too small a population to even be considered for any pandemic relief other than unemployment and PUA.

You have to take a close look at the numbers. There are roughly 13,000 medallions issued by the NYC TLC. When you take into account the owners of large fleets, at the peak of the market in 2015-6, there were well less than 10,000 “owners” of NYC medallions. Of the 10,000 individual medallions owners, at least 3-4,000 have already surrendered their medallions to lenders and/or the TLC as a result of bankruptcies and/or other litigation undertaken by the taxi lenders.

Since 2016, my firm has now filed in excess of 350 medallion bankruptcies (I am a sole practitioner) and have facilitated another 30-40 settlements and/or peaceful surrenders. Another 2-3,000 medallions are “off the road” because owners cannot get drivers to pay them enough to even cover their operating expenses. This leaves a baseline of about 3-4,000 taxis actively on the road at this point. With all that is going on, the timing could not be worse for the taxi industry. There are simply too many issues on the table at this time.  The taxi industry will survive, the form however remains uncertain.