New York City will create a $65 million taxi medallion owner-driver relief fund to support cab drivers, many of whom have been struggling with debt.
“Medallion owners have been hit hard by this pandemic. They deserve all the support we can give them as ridership recovers,” said Mayor de Blasio. “This program creates a pathway to solvency and supports the yellow medallion taxi industry’s important role in building a recovery for all of us.”
The city will provide up to $9,000 of direct debt relief and $20,000 loans up front for drivers to restructure their medallion debt, and urged private lenders to do the same.
The funds will come from the recently approved federal stimulus bill, which earmarked billions of aid to New York City. The TLC Owner/Driver Resource Center will assist taxi drivers in applying for Payroll Protection Plan (PPP) loans to help cover their business expenses.
“I have spoken with many medallion owners, and I hear the pain in their voices,” said the committee’s chair Aloysee Heredia Jarmoszuk. “They worry about being able to provide for their families, sometimes having to choose between making a loan payment and putting food on the table. This relief fund will give crucial help to an industry that was overleveraged and suffered severe loss of business during COVID-19. As the City’s economy recovers, we want to give medallion owners the support they need to get vehicles back on the streets and handle increased passenger demand.”
Drivers, many of whom are immigrants, have been facing economic devastation for years as prices of medallions soared, leaving them in hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt, just as car service apps arrived in the city and dramatically cut their business.
Updated Tuesday, March 9, 2021 at 11:50 am .