For-hire Vehicle (FHV) driver, Lu Wu, 49, was found dead from an apparent suicide in the back seat of a black Hyundai Sonata with TLC plates, on March 23 at 3:00am. The vehicle was parked at Myrtle Ave. and 75th St. in Glendale.
Mr. Wu’s tragic passing was the ninth suicide by a NYC TLC-regulated driver since November 2017.
Investigators believe Wu killed himself by ingesting a white powdery substance that might have been crushed over-the-counter medication. Police found the powder all over his face and clothes.
Before he died, Wu emailed relatives to say he was sorry, and that he loved them all, sources said.
“App companies are making investors rich by holding down wages to the point where drivers are killing themselves,” the Independent Drivers Guild (IDG) said in a statement in March.
The IDG has blasted Lyft for suing the city to block New York’s new minimum wage for app-based drivers – although it was still unclear in late March if finances played a key role in Mr. Wu’s suicide.
“Our concern is that there’s really a long pattern of these suicides,” said IDG spokeswoman Moira Muntz. “We are deeply saddened at the passing of Lu Wu, and we are frustrated that we were not able to… make the needed reforms in the industry before he reached this point.”
The guild has started a wellness program that offers therapy to drivers in crisis. It also urges them to call the city’s mental health crisis hotline at (888) 692-9355.
“We are deeply saddened by this tragedy, and extend our sincerest sympathies to the family and friends of the victim,” said Lyft spokeswoman Campbell Matthews.
Lyft maintains the pay raise implemented by the city hurts drivers because it increases the price for passengers, who in turn request fewer rides. A Manhattan judge is expected to issue a ruling on the lawsuit in April.