Taxi, for-hire drivers say they are struggling due to low ridership during pandemic
Taxi and for-hire drivers say they are struggling immensely due to low ridership during the pandemic.
Some say they can't make ends meet.
Juan is a Taxi and Limousine Commission for-hire-driver in the Bronx.
He drives the morning and evening rush. He says he couldn't pay his rent and now sometimes sleeps in his car, saying there's just such little demand for the number of drivers out on the streets.
"The city being shut down basically takes away from a lot of destinations that they would normally go to," he says.
He said due to lost jobs, as well as many jobs and schools moving online, 70% of trips during the day have been taken away - and a whopping 90% of trips at night aren't being taken since many bars and restaurants are still closed.
Juan says it's just part of the problem.
"The morale is low, assaults and robberies and crimes are high," he says.
Fernando Mateo, founder of the NYS Federation of Taxi Drivers, says drivers are also dealing with riders who don't want to wear masks, and that they fear not only for their health but also their safety.
"When you tell them to get out of the car, they want to fight, they want to confront the driver," he says.
Mateo, along with drivers News 12 spoke to, remain hopeful that things will get better with a vaccine and the city eventually opening.
They said they hope that taxi drivers are soon eligible to get the vaccine, saying that they are essential and should be prioritized.