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Greetings to the Yellow Cab of Greenville.
Arriving in New York, he became a taxi rider and embarked on the beaten track of the hard-working migrant. He then began to work on purchasing his own taxi locket. Since 1937, every car needs a locket in order to drive lawfully.
Only a few taxi riders own theirs, most rent them and pay about $100 for a 12-hour shifts. Each medal was very precious due to the small number of medals given out by the town; selling price for each medal rose from $50,000 in the early 70s to over $1 million by 2014. Many taxi riders considered the possession of a locket a great achievement.
In 2010 Islam succeeded in making a down pay on its locket and for a few years it seemed to be a good return on investments. Then in 2015, with the wide-spread appeal of Uber, Lyft and other ride-hailing applications, his fate would change. The Yellow Cab rider MD Islam, 40, from Bangladesh, owe 830,000 dollars on a mortage for his locket, which is now much less valuable.
Road-haul automobiles were saturating the markets, and an exit of riders from yellow taxi seats caused the value of medals to fall sharply. New York City's image of what the general eye sees is marked by taxiways. Taking a taxi is an old, almost mythical occupation in this town; the first yellow taxi appearing in the 1920s.
Today there are more than 13,000 yellow locket cabs in New York, divided among about 40,000 riders - some own their own lockets and automobiles, but most don't; many riders work for a liquor, like the taxi character, and are paying to hire each auto every day or week.
Dragan Lekic, 56, from the former Yugoslavia, is quiet and philosophical about the changes in commerce that come from Uber. "I' ve always enjoyed motoring," said Dragan Lekic, 56 years old. From Yugoslavia he immigrated to New York just before the beginning of the Yugoslavian War. Drivers lose cash for every minute they spend without a fare-bearer.
Sometimes passenger abuse or violence occurs; throughout the country taxi riders have been killed more than 20 fold more often than anyone else in the field. However, taxi travel offers the opportunity to earn a livelihood, however hard or hazardous it may be - especially for working-class migrants who often have few jobs.
Singh had worked on a ranch and ran out of the Punjab in North India twenty years ago and relocated to New York. Followed his brother-in-law into the taxi shop and has been riding ever since. 55 -year-old Jinder Singh, a former Punjab agriculturist, followed his brother-in-law into the taxi shop.
He' been in a cab for about 15 years. "It' s stressing, very stressing, but you are feeling like a free man," said Ignimora Atarouanourou, who also found her way to the taxi through a familial connection: his dad, who has been travelling for almost 30 years now. 39-year-old Atarouanourou, who comes from Togo, has been taking a taxi for six years.
Renting a vehicle from a Long Island City parking lot that allows him to fix his own timetable, he offers free auto fixes and a massaging stool to relax in while he sits. The adjoining room gives the driver easy acces to a coffeemaker and a small carpeted praying area.
In 2011 Uber formally landed in New York; in 2015 Uber automobiles were more numerous than cabs - and took along million of journeys. The taxi driver who noticed the decline in passenger numbers began to abandon the business: many switched to Uber, other transport modes such as Lyft, Juno or Via - or all at once.
Now the fleet is struggling to find enough driver, and empty yellow cabs are resting in garage's all over the town. "someone said to me that Uber paid well, so I did," said Shahnoor Qurashi, 54, who had been taxiing since the early 1990s. It was four years ago that he decides to drive a Uber-Auto.
"He said they're taking advantage of the drivers." Uber suspension of his bank and Qurashi could not protect himself against the passenger's claim when a traveller filed a claim against him. Now Qurashi has gone back to the yellow taxi shop, but the number of passengers has dropped. Eduin Montenegro, 46, was originally from the East Village of New York where he grew up and is a Gulf War veteran.
He' been in a cab for 22 years. He' s a rare taxi driver: a New Yorker by birth, he was brought up in the East Village. Montenegro started taxiing in 1996 after its return from the Gulf conflict. And eight years later, he took out a credit and buys a locket.
He returned to college to study massages and is considering getting out of the taxi shop completely. Cab riders who want to get organized can join the New York Taxi Workers' Alliance (NYTWA), an 18,000-member association associated with the AFL-CIO. However, taxi riders are self-employed and are not covered by the National Industrial Relations Act.
Remembering improper bosses yelling at him and dirty schedulers - some, he argued, asked for advice from all driver staff so they would not be allocated broken automobiles or fewer shift assignments. Burnt-out cab in a Long Island City parking lot, Queens. Nevertheless, some taxi driver remain with their taxi - like Abdelhalim Elgndy, 62, who has been riding a taxi since 1992.
However, many taxi operators are not upbeat about their sector. "There' s no tomorrow for taxis," said 48-year-old Sayed Moustafa, who has been riding a taxi for over a ten year period. Egyptian-born Abdelhalim Elgndy, 62, used to cook soul in a local Chinese pub and helps two kids with a taxi.