And in New York City, friends, residents and fellow taxi drivers gathered for a vigil Sunday to honor Yu Mein Chow, a taxi driver who died in an apparent suicide. His body was found floating in the East River last Wednesday, after he’d been missing for weeks. He is believed to be the fifth taxi or livery driver in New York City to commit suicide in five months, as traditional taxi drivers have been pushed out of business by Wall Street-backed, app-based ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft. This is Bhairavi Desai, co-founder of the New York Taxi Workers Alliance, speaking on Democracy Now!
Bhairavi Desai: “It’s a race to the bottom. Every day, people are going deeper and deeper into poverty. And this is the reality of the so-called gig economy. It’s about destroying what has been a full-time profession, turning it into part-time, poverty-pay work. Uber and company—Uber and Lyft—and, by the way, they are absolutely the same. It’s all one same business model. They use their political might. In 2016, Uber and Lyft combined spent more on lobbying than Amazon and Walmart combined, and Microsoft, as well. And so, they use their political might to win deregulation bills.”