Tragedy in the Driver Community

In May, we were greatly saddened to learn that taxi owner/driver Yu Mein “Kenny” Chow decided to end his life. We shared our deepest condolences with family members, friends and the fellow drivers he leaves behind. While the reasons for suicide are complex and cannot be explained in generalities, the mounting financial pressures medallion owners are facing is real and devastating.

We urge all industry members who are feeling these hardships to reach out to the Driver Protection Unit at 212-676-1201 for assistance in finding financial counseling. Neighborhood Trust, based in upper Manhattan, has been working with TLC licensees to financially empower themselves through counseling and other support services.

If you are experiencing stress, depression or anxiety, we urge you not to cope with it alone. Please call 1-888-NYC-Well or text “Well” for free, confidential mental health support in more than 200 languages.

If you would like to support the family of Kenny Chow, you can donate to their fund here: https://www.gofundme.com/remembering-nyc-cabbie-kenny-chow. To support the family of taxi driver Nicanor Ochisor, who also took his life earlier this year, donations can be made here: https://www.gofundme.com/fundforOchisorfamily.

An Iftar with Friends

It was a great privilege to take part in an Iftar with the Muslim driver community last month. For those unfamiliar with the tradition of Iftar, it is the evening meal with which Muslims end the daily Ramadan fast at sunset. It is often taken as a community, with people gathering to break the fast together.

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The TLC enjoyed taking part in an Iftar with the Muslim driver community.

The TLC attended the Iftar at a new driver education school, Taxiland, on Van Dam Street in Long Island City, Queens. We were warmly welcomed by representatives of the bases Grand Limo & Car Service and Grand Transportation Services (Ryde NYC). These are two of the most active bases for wheelchair-accessible green taxis in New York City, and many provide trips for the Accessible Dispatch program. We are grateful for the invitation to enjoy Iftar with the driver community, and we wish our licensees a blessed Ramadan.

Softball Game

Last month, I enjoyed spending time with some of our city’s longtime car services with a game of softball in Inwood Park. I pitched at the inauguration of Riverside Car & Limo Service’s 19th annual league tournament. Thank you to all who took part that morning. We appreciate the important contributions that car services make to our city’s transportation network, moving so many people every day.

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TLC In Your Borough!

Some of the most common questions the TLC receives from drivers are about prosecution and enforcement. To give information directly to our licensees, the TLC has been organizing events in all the boroughs with presentations from our External Affairs, Enforcement and Prosecution teams. Following the presentations, there is time for drivers to ask questions from some of the highest levels of leadership in the TLC. The TLC recently held “TLC in Your Borough” events in East Flatbush, Brooklyn and Flushing, Queens, and we appreciate the great turnout, and the valuable time that drivers took to ask questions and learn more. We look forward to seeing you at the next one!

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The TLC’s Kiara Ampuero, Rebecca Ditchek, and Gabriel Hidalgo enjoyed speaking with Dae Kang and Kay Kim of Orange Ride Corp. at a TLC in Your Borough event in Flushing, Queens.

Until next time, drive like your family lives here!

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Article by Meera Joshi

Meera Joshi is the Chair/Commissioner for the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission.

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