On Wednesday afternoon, New York City cab drivers traveled to Greenwich to protest in front of Marblegate Asset Management, a hedge fund that owns thousands of taxi medallions and loans.
Medallions are the city permits that allow people to own their own cab.
The town hall guest parking lot, largely empty since the onset of the pandemic, was awash in yellow.
Cabs had posters taped to their windows saying, “Debt forgiveness now,” “No More Suicides,” “No More Bankruptcies,” and, “It’s not charity; it’s loan forgiveness.”
Marblegate is headquartered across from Town Hall at 80 Field Point Rd. Andrew Milgram is the managing partner and chief investment officer.
New York City cabbies purchased the medallions only to watch their value plummet. Saddled with debt, they were struggling before the pandemic. Several cabbies have committed suicide. Many have declared bankruptcy.
Since the onset of the pandemic, cabbies, many who drive six days a week, 12 hours a day, have few fares.
Several cabbies taking a break in the shade across the street from the protest said they typically lease their cabs during their off hours to other drivers to help cover expenses and loan payments, but now there are no drivers.
“There are no bars, no flights, no hotels, no bookings,” one cabbie explained, raising his voice over his fellow protesters across the street chanting, ‘Stop your greed now!’ “They’re still pushing us to make payments with interest.”
One cabbie said he has has virtually no income since the pandemic, but still has to pay over $3,000 a month for his loan. He said didn’t want to declare bankruptcy because he didn’t want to lose his house.
“We were making good money,” another cabbie said. “But now, no one is taking cabs.”
“The medallions have zero value now,” said another cabbie. “But Maplegate is not reducing the 5% interest rate. The City of New York limited medallions to about 12,000, but then they allowed in Uber and Lyft. We can only pick up fares on the street. The city created this.”
One cabbie said he bought his medallion in 2010 for $620,000. “The value is zero now,” he said.
One cabbie said his monthly payment for his medallion is $3,200.
“And we have expenses including gas and repairs,” one cabbie said, adding some days he drives for an hour before there is a fare.
During the protest one person left the building in a BMS convertible and was booed. As they returned to their cabs at town hall, one Greenwich Police officer chatted with a cabbie. “Good luck,” he said.