Over $350 million of taxi medallion debt has been forgiven under the city’s Medallion Relief Program for distressed cabbies, Mayor Eric Adams announced Tuesday.
Nearly 1,800 cabbies with loans from Marblegate Asset Management have seen their loans restructured, wiping $356 million in debt from the books and enabling more financial stability for the mostly-immigrant taxi driving workforce.
“With $350 million in debt relief for nearly 1,800 taxi medallion owners already, our administration is finally ending the taxi medallion crisis and turning the tide for hard-working taxi drivers who provide New Yorkers and visitors with both an essential and a quintessential New York experience,” Hizzoner said in a statement.
“It has been a truly rewarding and emotional experience watching hard-working drivers regain their hope and a sustainable income after receiving this critical support,” said Taxi & Limousine Commissioner David Do.
The hyper-inflated market price of a taxi medallion collapsed during the 2010s as rideshare services like Uber and Lyft arrived in the city, providing cabbies with serious competition. The issue was exacerbated by revelations the city and major lenders purposely pumped up the price of a medallion in the years before the collapse, leading many cabbies to financial ruin and, in some cases, suicide.
After rejecting a deal negotiated by former Mayor Bill de Blasio, cabbies embarked on a 15-day hunger strike outside City Hall seeking a better agreement, which they ultimately won. Marblegate agreed to cap all loan balances at a maximum of $170,000, with monthly payments not to exceed $1,234.
“The Medallion Relief Program remains a lifeline for thousands of families, and its continued success gives us more hope for the remaining lenders to come on board,” said Bhairavi Desai of the New York Taxi Workers Alliance, a union repping thousands of cabbies. “We’re so thankful Mayor Adams made this serious commitment to our members, who give all they have to make our city run.”
In November, yellow cab drivers secured their first raise in a decade, winning increases in base and per-unit fares as inflation caused cost-of-living to soar. Their colleagues driving Ubers and Lyfts also saw their pay raised by the TLC, but that raise is on hold pending the result of a lawsuit by Uber.