Taxi drivers blame ride-sharing services for cabbie suicides

Posted: Updated:
NEW YORK -

New York taxi drivers propped up coffins outside City Hall Wednesday in a protest against ride-sharing apps. 

They say ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft have led to "financial devastation" for cab drivers -- a problem so serious that four cabbies have killed themselves within the last few months, according to the protesters.

For decades, taxis have operated under the city's heavily regulated medallion system. Uber and Lyft operate without those regulations, so the taxi industry is calling for new regulations on ride-sharing companies, like a cap on the amount of for-hire vehicles on the city's streets.

Tamara Vishnyakova says she bought her taxi medallion 20 years ago as an investment.

But now, "everything is broken," she says. "All my prayers, all my hopes and dreams are in vain."

Interestingly, some Uber drivers joined the protest, saying their wages are unsustainable and that they are being pushed into poverty.

The New York Taxi Workers Alliance is calling the ride-sharing surge in the Big Apple "the slaughter of the taxi industry."

"The competition is not fair," says Bhairavi Desai, a member of the group. "We are under complete regulations. I pay my dues. I work very hard for New York City, and I have the right to say enough is enough."

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