Greenpoint’s Taxi Graveyard

Photo © Emma Whitford via the Gothamist
Photo © Emma Whitford via the Gothamist

In the land of transportation woes, Greenpoint has got another thing to worry about. It’s a yellow graveyard growing on the outer-edges of Provost Street. No, these aren’t daisies growing in a cemetery; these are the remains of discarded NYC cabbies which nobody wants to claim.

For a good part of the year, this graveyard has crept outside of the crowded taxi dispatch, McGuiness Management Corporation, located on the corner of McGuiness Boulevard and Huron Street and continues to grow outwards onto the surrounding streets. With the Uber lobbyists hard at work in Albany and the infusion of green taxis making outer borough pick-ups, yellow taxis are feeling the pinch. Their carcasses can be seen snaking their way  onto Provost Street, filling up side blocks all the way from Huron down to Freeman Street.

According the Gothamist, McGuiness Management Corporation has 341 medallion taxis spanning the five boroughs. A year ago, only 50 registered yellow taxis sat on their lot. Nowadays, worker Hossam Yossri says that number is closer to 170 cabs and that number keeps ticking higher. Only a few days ago, McGuiness Management Corporation had a mere 24 medallion taxis dispatched.

“Business is getting so bad, that people are just dropping their cabs off. Everyone is going to Uber, where they don’t have to pay a lease, and they don’t have to deal with a dispatch,” Yossri told the Gothamist.

On a recent ride home from Manhattan, I asked my yellow medallion driver, Khalid Nayyer, about the situation and he helped shed some light on the subject.

“Banks are not financing right now and for the last six months, the city has not sold any new medallions. No buying, no selling. So people who want medallions are stuck,” he says.

Nayyer also adds car-sharing businesses like Uber and Lyft have taken business away from yellow taxis. To make ends meet by the growing taxi wars, he says he still holds on to his yellow medallion, but on his off hours, he uses a different vehicle and moonlights with Uber. “Uber is easy. If you own a [Toyota] Camry, you pay $400 dollars and keep the rest of the money for yourself.”

Driving a yellow NYC taxi costs much more he explains. “Medallion rates are much higher than Uber. Rates for a yellow taxi are $750 a day and $950 at night. For a 7 day lease, it costs drivers $1600 dollars. Then there is the gas, the MTA tax, plus IPM fee for the handicap system. It costs a lot.”

Back at McGuiness Management Corporation’s dispatch, workers there estimate a 40% loss of business to Uber and this is not counting the green cabs. They say they haven’t seen such a slow down since the week of 9/11, although they note August is typically a slow month because a lot of people are on vacation. As for why McGuiness Management won’t add any green taxis to their stock, they say it has to do with pride since green taxis were the first to snatch away the yellow taxi’s business.

Khalid Usmari, whose worked with McGuinness Management for 25 years, told the Gothamist, “First the green cab affected us, and then Uber. I used to make $400 in a shift, and take home around $300. Now it’s dropped down to $250 total, taking home barely $100 a night.”

What is evident from the growing number of unused yellow taxis lining Greenpoint streets, the taxi industry is changing and warring factions keep pointing fingers. City and State officials realize their ways of doing things needs to be re-evaluated as more and more drivers make the leap from medallion taxis to car-sharing programs.

In the meantime, McGuiness Management Corporation shuffles their taxis like a game of musical chairs, parking them where ever they can, hopefully avoiding parking tickets. Time will tell where the McGuiness Boulevard dispatch’s yellow cabs will end up, but for now they’ve entered the taxis graveyard, waiting for the day their hoods get dusted off or cremated, whichever comes first.

About Kim M

Kim is a native New Yorker, local activist and writer. When she's not writing books or playing Erin Brockovich with her Save Greenpoint peeps, you will see her whipping around Greenpoint on her bike, chatting it up with folks, and sharing stories about what it is about her hometown that makes life worth living. Follow her on twitter @kimasson or www.kimmassonwrites.com

2 Comments

  1. siobhan says:

    thanks for the article Kim! do you know if there is any recourse for having all of the taxis lining the streets (and taking up residential parking spots)?

    Reply
    • Kim M says:

      That’s a good question, Sioban. I don’t know of any recourse except for parking tickets and 311 complaints. Unfortunately for the McGuiness dispatch, I think they might have another problem on the horizon. The city just rolled out a new fleet of taxis which they are encouraging cabbies to drive. You can read about it here.

      Reply

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