Even before the coronavirus pandemic shut down businesses around the globe, New York City’s transportation industry was facing serious struggles. Once stay-at-home orders were put in place, ridership plummeted 90%, sending drivers even deeper into despair.
To deal with the situation, New York City’s Taxi & Limousine Commission (TLC) launched, in May, a new Driver Resource Center online to help its licensed drivers and medallion owner-drivers with legal issues, loans and debt issues, financial help, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), cash assistance, Medicaid renewal applications and other support services.
Drivers can find more information about the TLC’s Driver Resource Center at portal.driverresourcecenter.tlc.nyc.gov.
There are nearly 200,000 TLC drivers in NYC, but many have kept their vehicles idle during the pandemic, unwilling to risk getting the illness and afraid their income would be insufficient to cover their costs.
The city has hired about 15,000 TLC drivers to deliver meals to low-income, homebound residents –more than 5 million at last count – but many say it’s not enough to keep them afloat, with car payments, insurance and other bills piling up.
“They’re able to participate in ensuring we keep to the mayor’s promise that no New York City resident will starve during COVID,” according to TLC Chair Aloysee Heredia Jarmoszuk.
While the city is trying to help its licensees by paying them $53 per route to deliver food, participating drivers say they’re earning a fraction of what they were making pre-COVID-19, which was already well below their wages just a few years back.
Source: CBS New York