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Taxi drivers and airline workers forced to brink of starvation as travel is at a standstill

January 22, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.

Compression ratio: 20.8%. 1 min read.

Joseph Palma holds up his work uniform with pride and despair. He hasn't put it on since he was laid off in March. He worked as a customer service agent for Eulen America, a contractor for American Airlines, assisting customs at Miami International Airport.

New York (CNN Business)Joseph Palma holds up his work uniform with pride and despair.

"There was a struggle because I used all my savings to pay my bills and pay the rent, pay my food and everything," Palma said of when he was first laid off.

For 21 years, Gerson Fernandes has driven a New York City yellow cab.

Even before Covid-19 swept the world, traditional taxi drivers were struggling in New York City.

At the height of the pandemic, ridership dropped by 90% for yellow cabs and 85% for ride-share apps, according to the New York Taxi Workers Alliance, which analyzed New York Taxi and Limousine Commission ridership data.

"Those days you could afford to buy a home and pay the mortgages or pay are all the money, but now it's too bad -- it's difficult to pay," said Fernandes.

He says he received unemployment benefits under the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program for several months when New York City shut down, but stopped collecting once he returned to work.

He is hoping New York City's Mayor Bill De Blasio will institute a rent forgiveness on his taxi medallion lease.

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