New York City, February 5, 2018
According to the New York Times, Doug Schifter, a cab driver shot himself dead in front of New York City City’s City Hall last Monday, February 5, 2018.
He was angry and depressed over the New York’s market fragmentation flowing from the introduction of TNC’s and their ride-hailing and ride-sharing app hailing.
For more information on this story and the overall situation in New York City click here.
The foregoing episode calls into question the overall effect market fragmentation and driver deprofessionalization is currently having on the mental health of cab drivers all over North America.
The taxi industry is no stranger to occupational suicide, in fact, it is not infrequently pandemic when business falters. Unfortunately, governments are not keeping statistics on such suicides and mental breakdowns.
While I don’t have any statistics here, I can recount a few case histories that I encountered during the course of my career here in Calgary:
Two drivers, one of them a multi-car owner, died from an overdose of sleeping pills. The single car driver abandoned his cab in the forest. After an exhaustive search, his body was found about a mile away.
Another cab driver was fired after chasing another through the lobby of an upscale hotel swinging an axe.
A cab driver stabbed his customer several times when he wanted to take an out of town trip and had no money but could pay on arrival. Fortunately, the victim survived and police and Taxi Commission did the rest.
Those incidents were all the product of cockeyed government regulation in the face of a severely depressed economy of the 1980’s and early 90’s.
Eviction notices, foreclosures, unserviceable income tax assessments and personal bankruptcies are the lot of taxi drivers who can scarce afford a donut from Tim Horton’s after putting in a twelve hour or longer shift–all to pacify he insatiable greed of taxi tycoons and the Plutocrat General.
No wonder so many cabbies endure depression and thoughts of suicide.