No food, just water.
Wednesday was the eighth day of a hunger strike for New York City taxi drivers who want to reclaim what they say is theirs in the first place.
They demonstrate 24 hours a day in teams in front of the town hall.
One of those drivers, Mouhamadou Aliyu, said that after years of asking for help, he had no other options.
âWe have been put in a desperate position,â Aliyu said. âBecause I am dying. “
Driving a yellow cab around town used to mean making a living, but not anymore.
Aliyu says the flood of email companies, like Uber and Lyft, have swept away their customers.
He accuses the city of having allowed it, without regulation.
âThe city has authorized over 100,000 cars to do exactly what we were doing,â Aliyu said. âIf I pay for a license, you should also pay for one. “
Aliyu says app-based services also destroyed the investment he made in his yellow taxi locket.
He calls the locket “his hit on the American dream”.
He bought it in 2001 for $ 331,000.
He said today that he owed $ 651,000 for it, even though it’s only worth a fraction of that.
The New York Taxi Workers Alliance, a union representing drivers, wants the city to pay off some of the drivers’ 4,000 medallion debts.
Their proposal asks lenders to reduce debts to no more than $ 175,000.
Drivers would then get $ 30,000 from the city’s current program and turn that into a cash down payment, reducing the loan to a maximum of $ 145,000.
Mayor Bill de Blasio’s officer has pledged $ 65 million in grants to help struggling medallion owners.
Aliyu said that was not enough.
He said that with the mayor’s plan, he would end up having to pay another $ 520,000 from his medallion.
At Wednesday’s rally, protesters honored the nine taxi drivers who have committed suicide in recent years.
Advocates said they felt trapped in a cycle of debt.
Aliyu said he will stay outside City Hall singing for the change for as long as it takes.
âAll we ask from the town hall is to give us back our life,â Aliyu said. “Why can’t you give me my life back?” “