Program Eight - Segment Three: Taxi Turmoil

In April 1998, New York City laid out 17 new rules that increased fines for taxi drivers and made it easier for them to lose their licenses.  A majority of the drivers came from India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, countries that had taken up arms against each other just decades before.  But the city’s taxi drivers were angry enough to do what many said couldn’t be done: they organized.  For one day, they walked off the job and went on strike and proved they were a force to be reckoned with. 


Rizwan Raja, Biju Mathew, Bhairavi Desai, Javaid Tariq, and Taxi and Limousine Commissioner Diane McGrath-McKechnie.

Produced by Deepa Ranganathan


Aishu Venkataraman, Violinist is a 13-year old violin prodigy, playing in a South Indian style. As Divine Strings, she performs nationally while her father accompanies on drums. While attending middle school, Aishu also takes lessons in classical and bluegrass violin and has already been accepted to a summer program at the Berklee school of music. divinestrings.com

Further Internet Resources:


“Cabdrivers Strike, City Yawns …”  The Boston Globe.  May 14, 1998.

“New York’s Street Fight.”  The Boston Globe.  May 21, 1998.

“Cabbies, Sex Workers Cry No Fare!  No Fair!”  The Los Angeles Times, May 14, 1998.

“Giuliani Can’t Curb His Zest for Street Fights …”  The Los Angeles Times, June 4, 1998. 

“Angry at the Mayor, Cabbies Plan to Make Tomorrow the Day New York Stood Still.” The New York Times, May 12, 1998.

“Miles of Streets With Nary a Yellow Taxicab.”  The New York Times.  May 14, 1998.

“Giuliani Threatens Action if Cabbies Fail to Cancel a Protest.”  The New York Times, May 15, 1998.

“India, Cabbies, and Giuliani Go Nuclear.”  The New York Times.  May 15, 1998.

“Livery Drivers Reject Giuliani’s Call to Take Street Hails.”  The New York Times.  May 17, 1998.

“After Pressure From Giuliani, Taxi Group Cancels a Protest.”  The New York Times. May 20, 1998.

“Renewed Call for Motorcade Against Giuliani’s Taxi Rules.” The New York Times.  May 21, 1998.

“Show of Force Checks Protest by Cabdrivers.”  The New York Times.  May 22, 1998.

“Cabbies Denied Free Speech, a Judge Rules.”  The New York Times.  May 27, 1998.

“Cab Drivers Plan to Rally at City Hall on July 4.”  The New York Times. June 22, 1998.

“Taxi Commission Approves Stricter Penalties for Cab Drivers.”  The New York Times. Nov. 20, 1998.

Prashad, Vijay.  “Of Solidarity and Other Desires.”  The Karma of Brown Folk, 2000.  

“New York Cabbies – No Speeding, Smoke, Surliness, or Service …” The Wall Street Journal.  May 11, 1998

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