Wednesday, February 12, 2014

NY-born cabbies a thing of the past

From the NY Times:

The cabbies huddled beside space heaters in the break room of a garage in Long Island City, Queens, playing a Ghanaian version of checkers before their shifts were to begin.

“Greek. African. Couple of Haitians,” said Stanley Wissak, the longtime president of the cab company, 55 Stan, gesturing toward each yellow taxi driver he passed.

“Mr. Stanley, how you doing?” one cabby asked. Mr. Wissak nodded as the man walked away.

“Egypt,” the boss said.

The American-born cabby, long a stalwart of the industry even as immigrants began to dominate its ranks, has now just about vanished.

Today, only 8 percent of New York City taxi and for-hire drivers were born in the United States, the city’s Taxi and Limousine Commission said. According to records released in December by the commission, the dearth is particularly pronounced among yellow taxi drivers; of them, 6 percent are native-born.

The numbers are a far cry from 1980, when 62 percent of taxi and for-hire drivers in New York City were born in the United States, according to Census figures cited in a 2004 report by Schaller Consulting. By 1990, the figure had fallen to 36 percent; by 2000, it was down to 16 percent.

The shift to a near-uniform immigrant work force has had a profound effect on the taxi industry, reshaping the relationship between driver and passenger.

Archetypes of a generation past have largely receded from view: the New York know-it-all, the fledgling actor making do between auditions, the student working his way through college behind the wheel.

Former and current drivers said the trend could be traced in large part to changes in cab leasing terms in the 1970s. With rules that now often require much of a long day’s work — a standard shift is 12 hours — just to cover the daily rental rate, there is far less latitude for students, performers or other young New Yorkers to drive cabs for part of the day as supplemental income.

“I went into this thinking it was a steppingstone to something,” said John McDonagh, 59, a cabby who was raised in Middle Village, Queens. But his more than 35 years as a taxi driver have led him to instead perceive his job as a springboard “to the end of my life.”

Another consequence of the lease changes: Taxi operators were once far more invested in the success of their cabbies.


Anonymous said...

This isn't new to me.....I've noticed this many years ago. Close to 50 percent of nyc are foreigners. I'm not surprised!

Deke DaSilva said...

I wonder what the statistics are for American-born vs. foreign-born NY Times reporters?

When will we see that story in the NY Times?


Anonymous said...

Not to mention an increase in the stink factor.

Anonymous said...

The FDNY is something like 80% white male.

Anything and everything was done to try to change that. Even giving people preferential treatment in hopes that they would qualify.

Is anything being done to make sure that Native New Yorkers, specifically white males, get jobs as taxi drivers ?

Thank you Emanuel Celler, Jewish Politician, for opening the flood gates from 3rd world countries.

Anonymous said...

the american born cabbies were second generation or so americans at a time when almost nobody went to college.

today no parent in their right mind wants their kid to end up in a non-college career path

Anonymous said...

We gave this country away. Literlly lust gave it away. :(

Anonymous said...

Non-college career path? Lol. there are no jobs at the end of college. College is a dead end.

Anonymous said...

The FDNY is something like 80% white male.

The irish/italians took jobs with fire departments because nobody else would hire them.

Now people (not you, poster) complain that its not fair all these irish/italian guys are taking all the fire jobs.


Anonymous said...

These jobs suck.

Anonymous said...

Underneath this story is yet another case of the rich getting richer -at others expense.

Today, the cost of a yellow cab medallion is over one million dollars. This places it well out of the range of an individual.

The bulk of these medallions are now owned by only a few businessmen and THEY decide lease rates. So you get these 12-16 hour slave shifts.

What American would put up with that?

Anonymous said...

If the industry was dominated by white american born people could you imagine the outrage and protests? Where is the "equality" now?