I’ve been driving the yellow cab around NYC for the past 25 years. In between I tried different jobs, like buy a chicken farm, but it didn’t work out. Apparently my eldest daughter hates the smell of chicken poop and she refused to leave our two apartment bedroom. She was fourteen at that time. My wife disagreed too saying that she wouldn’t move to a place where the morning breeze smelled like raw chicken. The deal I was trying to make didn’t work out either so I decided to stay in NYC and buy my own medallion (taxi).
Initially I bought the medallion at a low price in 2001 (after my youngest daughter was born and I tell her every day that she’s my lucky charm.) I took a loan from the bank to lease the medallion. It worked out and everything was going well. In 2003 me and my wife decided that my wife would stay in Pakistan with our kids and I would stay here in America. My family stayed in Pakistan for six years (that’s a whole other story) and I would go in between to meet them. Now fast forward to 2009, my family came back and I needed a bigger house so I decided to sell the medallion and buy a farm in Maryland, unfortunately the farm didn’t work out, so we ended up back in New York. The Medallion price was increasing and at that time and it seemed like a good investment. So I put all my money into it, took a loan and bought a medallion. That was the only thing I was sure about. I knew the city inside out. Even now I can close my eyes and tell you exactly where to go like a GPS.
Things were going well and then Uber started. I didn’t think much of it because I didn’t know how apps worked. But in 2013 Uber picked up its pace and slowly it started taking over the city especially Manhattan. In the next couple of years Uber gained popularity. The price of the medallion came crashing down. Let’s just say that many Taxi owners were drenched in interest and loans. Three of my known cabbies committed suicide and a few others filed for bankruptcy.
I’m not saying Uber is bad, but the city should do something for all these people that had bought the medallion. Maybe have a relief program which helps reduce the loan. The TLC (Taxi and Limousine commission) is fighting the city and I hope it works in our favor.