These news stories pile on, and we continue to see a common theme.
"Fausto Luna jumped in front of an A train on Sept. 26 at the 175th Street and Fort Washington Avenue station. He is the first Uber driver this year to commit suicide in New York City. The other six drivers drove yellow taxi cabs or for livery or black car services.
As ride-sharing vehicles have upended the taxi market in New York, taxi drivers have been hit with increasing debt despite working longer shifts, leading to incredible stress and depression for some.
But those financial hardships are not limited to cabdrivers. Uber and other ride-hail drivers have also complained about low pay and unending competition as more people sign up to drive.
Uber said Mr. Luna was a longtime driver with a high rating and consistent earnings. He owned his vehicle, and it was fully paid for, the company said."
Meera Joshi, the city’s taxi commissioner, urged drivers who are struggling to reach out to the city for help.
“That is the forefront of the issue, is making sure people know how to reach out for help,” she said at the vigil.
But, she added: “It’s convenient to blame a person, and if I need to be the subject of people’s anger, that’s fine. I can take it. It doesn’t bother me, but I don’t know that it really addresses the fundamental underpinnings of the situation that drivers are finding themselves in now.”
Her advice, however, did not seem to resonate with some vigil attendees, who shouted at her. A few of them blamed her for the recent suicides, and some cursed at her as she walked away and then disappeared into the subway station.
The vitriol became so intense that Allan Fromberg, a spokesman for the taxi commissioner, acted as a bodyguard for Ms. Joshi as she left.
“We wanted to talk about resources available,” Mr. Fromberg said of the disruption. “But we don’t want to detract from the family. That wasn’t going to happen today,” he said.
“But another time, another place.”