New York assembly member says taxi drivers are on hunger strike to demand city guarantee their loans


New York State Assembly Member Zohran Mamdani (D) said on Tuesday Empire State taxi drivers were on a hunger strike to demand the city guarantee their loans.

A handful of New York taxi drivers went on hunger strike two weeks ago to demand that the city offer a bigger bailout for taxi medallions, which is the permit that gives yellow cabs the ability to take passengers on the street.

Mayor of New York Bill de BlasioBill de Blasio 2,000 firefighters take medical leave as the vaccination mandate goes into effect in New York. announced in March that his government was planning to allocate $ 65 million to bail out the city’s taxi drivers, many of whom are facing economic hardship due to predatory loans sold to them in the form of lockets.

Mamdani – who is on the hunger strike, now in its 14th day – said in an interview on Hill.TV’s “Rising” that the drivers are essentially asking the city to pledge to cover their costs. loans in the event of default.

“Basically the demand is for the city to guarantee the driver loans. And what that means is that if a driver defaults on their payments, the city would step up and pay the balance to the lender, ”Mamdani said.

The assembly member said their request is “critical” in two ways: it protects drivers from the loss of all their property if they don’t pay off their loans, and it eliminates the risk on the loan.

“The first is that when these drivers have defaulted so far, the lenders have taken over everything they own, their car, their house, their other assets that they may have. And secondly, when you guarantee a loan, it then prompts the lender to offer more favorable terms to the driver because risk has been taken out of the equation, ”said Mamdani.

He said about 13 or 14 drivers are currently taking part in the hunger strike, which involves only drinking water and other fluids containing electrolytes. Mamdani said participants see a doctor daily and some people have been forced to stop the hunger strike for health reasons.

Watch an excerpt from Mamdani’s interview above.

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