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After 8th suicide of NYC cabbie, half price taxi fares to Manhattan launched

Yellow taxi medallion owners face ruin, TLC tries to help; Brooklyn, Queens riders get discount with Waave app

November 15, 2018 By Mary Frost Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Now Brooklyn and Queens riders can snag a yellow cab ride into Manhattan at rush hour for half price. Eagle photo by Mary Frost

On Wednesday, the New York City Medical Examiner determined that the death of a cab driver in Queens was by hanging, making him the eighth driver to die by suicide this year, according to ABC News.

Roy Kim, 58, hanged himself with a belt in his Bayside home on Nov. 5. According to reports, he was more than $500,000 in debt after purchasing a taxi medallion in 2017.

These suicides have been linked to the growth of ride-share companies like Uber and Lyft, which have devastated the yellow cab business in New York City.

For-hire vehicles in New York City surged from 50,000 in 2011 to nearly 130,000 in 2018. While the abundance of ride-share cars has been a boon to outer borough residents with scant transportation choices, the competition sent the value of a taxi medallion from $1 million to less than $200,000, ruining many taxi owners.

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Yellow cab rides will be half priced into Manhattan during rush hours.

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As part of Taxi and Limousine Commission’s effort to help traditional cabbies compete, a new deal that will benefit Brooklyn and Queens riders was launched on Thursday. Yellow cab riders will now be able to pay just half fare to ride into Manhattan during rush hours by using Waave, an app approved by TLC. The 50 percent discount is available from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. and from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. every day, including weekends.

The deal will benefit riders and cabbies and improve traffic, Waave says.


Currently, every morning and evening during rush hour, an army of 8,000 empty yellow cabs heads into Manhattan from garages in Brooklyn and Queens. The empty cabs, heading for their regular shifts, clog the streets and drivers spend valuable time on the road with nothing to show for it. This deal will match empty cabs with riders looking for a cheaper way to get into Manhattan.

The Waave app (www.waave.co) works like apps utilized by Uber and Lyft, with features like upfront fares, surge-free pricing and estimated time of arrival.

Waave CEO Daniel Iger, a former manager for BMW Group, says the app will create a better quality of life for both Brooklyn and Queens riders and beleaguered taxi drivers.

“For the first time, taxi drivers won’t be forced to kick off their shifts with a rider-less multi-borough trip, commuters can get into Manhattan quickly and inexpensively, and we can all enjoy the benefits of less crowded streets and subways,” Iger said in a statement.

Brooklyn cabbie Augie Tang said the deal was a smart way for taxi drivers to increase ridership.

“It’s always been nearly impossible to pick up a hail before driving into Manhattan, but now we can finally connect with passengers during what was once the least profitable portion of any taxi driver’s shift,” he said in a statement.

NYC Effort to Help Taxi Cabs Compete

In August, the City Council voted to regulate the ride-share companies, capping the growth of new vehicles and guaranteeing the drivers a minimum wage. The city says for-hire vehicles were often without passengers for much of the day, slowing traffic and increasing carbon emissions.

The legislation seems to have already affected Uber and Lyft service. While Councilmember Brad Lander cited projections in August that wait times for cars might increase only 12 to 15 seconds and fares rise by less than 5 percent, riders report that wait times have increased notably.

“Uber has changed,” said journalist Christina Carrega, a disgruntled Brooklyn rider. “Now they make you walk to the next block for pick up and if you want them to come to where you are, they charge you $3 extra.”

Other Uber riders say the wait times have lengthened in Manhattan as well. While a two-minute wait for a car might be predicted before the ride is confirmed, after the button to lock in the ride is pressed, the actual wait time is revealed to be much longer.

There are fewer Lyft cars around as well, riders told the Brooklyn Eagle.


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