TRANSCRIPT – VIJAY BALI
Recorded by Deepa Ranganathan
:37 At this moment neither is myself a taxi driver nor is bhairavi but we were on the opposite sides. **********One person was there for political reasons, and we had organized, united yellow, in order to motivate the taxi driver. In a way that he would know that he could get his rights if he went in the right direction.
1:22 United was started in 97. The drivers had so many problems, the airport was one of that. At the airport there were some drivers, illegal fares, and the drivers were not treated in the manner which they should be. Specific in the sense that because of their lack of language, they could not relate to the officials in the city. And those officials were not taking them as the citizens of this great country should be taken. *********
2:22 in the beginning we started with about 400 people. As our goal or the way we were working started off, we went to a strength of about 3,500. but 3,500 is nothing. Today we have about 12,000 taxis. Now out of those 12,000 taxis, there are about 6,000 or at that time it was 6,000 which were owner driven, and the rest are owned by garages and those are the drivers which – let me put it to you directly, which Bhairavi was trying to represent. She was trying to represent drivers who were just working, you know, they didn’t own anything. They didn’t have a stake in the taxi industry. ****** daily you go and you do a job and you get the money, that’s it. We were trying to concentrate in the beginning on the drivers who had a bigger stake. Bigger stake, who own the medallions. So those people who had already invested and were trying to make this as an industry. *********
4:19 today a person who has invested money and doesn’t get returns out of it and is not treated well, he is a bigger sufferer than a person who can jump form job to job. And what are the other drivers, these small drivers, they are laboring, it’s okay, but they can jump from job to job. But if you have invested money into a medallion, you have to stay in the industry, and the gain or the loss is much more important to you than the other person who just comes in and goes out. ********
5:16 – The owner drivers, we had about 2,500 owner drivers. Garage owners are those people who own about 200, 300 medallions and they run the show. They have also invited in the industry and trying to make something out of it*******. Only thing is you are trying to say to me that people who come and can flow out of it are more important. I don’t agree with that. Second thing is whoever is a driver when dealing with the officials, you have to deal in a certain protocol. If you have to get your things known to them, you have to be going the right direction.
6:42 you have to go step by step. *** you can’t just go, I cannot just go and say do it. I think that is not the way. That is what bhairavi was trying to do. The only problem was we started interacting with the officials in a nicer way, better way, started listening to us. Garages also wanted to know wha twas happening. She tried to do what – tried to take a stick and run after the officials. And at that time Giuliani, the mayor, he was a little in the head. ******* he’s a person who was strong headed. He wanted people to come to him, sit with him, talk to him, and you could get out of it. When we found out this man was not going to listen, we went and put a strike.
8:31 I am Vijay Bali. I was the spokesperson for United Yellow Cab Drivers assoc. I was the person who was going to the officials, having meetings with them, trying ot put across the problems of the drivers to them because the drivers basically coming from countries where English is not very predominant, they didn’t have English, so we had to represent them, and that was basically what my job was.
9:22 I have drivers as friends, so when they know my background my evacuation, my language speakig to people, they said we want you to spearhead this for us. *****
9:47 at this moment I am a retired person. My children are grown up. I have come to this countyr about 20 years ago. I came with a friend of mine who was doing govt business, I was helping him out, went into fast food as manager, then they say they wanted me to do this.
10:51 – the thing is, these 17 rules which came up were not rules. What happened was, when we were interacting with the taxi and limo commission, they were listening to what they wanted, so we gave them a list of what the problems of the drivers was. So they said they would rectify those problems, try to rectify. But then I wouldn’t like to blame anybody or say anything to anybody, some people tried to be too aggressive.
12:00 basically we wanted the driver was harassed. The harassment of the driver was on the top of the list. Harassment by the police, by the airport officials, they were not treated as they should be treated. The ticketing was there. The tlc had become a machine which wa s there just to collect money. ********* the grievances of the drivers was immaterial to them. And that is why, basically we formed this united yellow. We had – indians, some sikh guys, hardev otal, he was the president, he was the guy, the person who collected people around him and said let us go collectively to the tlc. And the city, so we can do it. Before the rules, much much before the rules. And this strike which some people are taking credit for, I’m sorry to say – if you go back and go to tlc or city, thye will tell you this strike was announced by us for may 21st. When we found that the city was not responding to what we were trying to say, so – some people tried to sabotage it, even when we went ot the mayor, mayor called us up and said don’t do strike, come to us, we will talk to you. Problbme with taxi driver is basically one thing ********** that person or that individual who runs behind the wheel, his motive is the clicking of the meter. He is not interested in anything. The clicking of the meter is what he wants.
15:15 whether they have to pay something out of their pockets, not worried. Not there to go for collective bargaining. That is problem with taxi drivers.
15:50 when we announced a strike for may 21, we called up – bhairavi said, she was spearheading alliance at that time. She came to us, into our office and said why don’t we join hands and do it. We agreed to it. In the meantime, we – some cooperators, some contressmen came to us and said why don’t we wait and have some dialogue with the city. She also wanted to become a part of it. But the taxi guys said, we don’t want her to be a part of it, so why don’t you people go alone with it.
16:53 they came to us and tlc came and said vijay why don’t we wait for sometime, come on the table, let’s discuss it. Bhai had an idea, at this moment iron is hot, why not do it? We said okay, let’s go ahead and do it. ******** we went to city hall – second week of may. We are in the second week of may and we went there and we said okay, mayor at that point refused to talk to us. We said okay let’s go for a strike, but we didn’t want to be too aggressive. We had already announced a date for may 21. She said can I announce it for 13th? We said okay, we will help you out, process is already there, you also do it. ********* on may 13 she went around and said it was her that had announced a strike which is wrong.
18:50 the day was May 21st was there but she had come to us and said why not for may 13 also? Our drivers, we told them okay, don’t ply the taxis that day, let’s go ahead and do it on that day also. On may 21st what we planned was, we were going to take out a procession from queens bridge, going to take out procession fo taxis and go downtown with our taxis and go to the mayor in fron of the city hall, put all the taxis there and tell him that these are the people, not anybody who is coming. *********** you are not a taxi driver and you can be a part of the strike. The thing is, what happens is, an individual who is plying a taxi and who’s sitting behind a taxi wheel who comes in his vehicle to the city hall makes a difference. **** rather than I collecting 5,000, that’s what we did, and we were at city hall, no difference because any bystander could be a prt of it.
20:40 tell me one thing. I’m asking you. Who says, who takes the credit individually for organizing the strike? I want them to come out and show us, that the strike they planned was successful only singlehandedly by them. And I would like tem to come and show us how was it possible for them, who were not in the picture at all throughout the first 6 monoths of disc with city that they could plan a strike and be successful. ********
22:00 beginning, the process actually started in 97 end. We started having dialogue with the city and the tlc. The tlc at that time was at 42nd street. And the lady was diane mckechnie, whatever. She was the person in the chair. With the tlc. We had our meetings with her, ahd started dialogue with her but she was not responding very well to our dialogue. We told her if you don’t respond, taxi driver is going to go on strike. That si where process of strike started. ***
23:22 I’ll tell you the number of drivers in industry. There are 12,000 taxi cabs. And there are about 48,000 drivers in totality. Out of that there are – 7,000 are the owners. All those people were there with us and then there were these garages who had already started working with us. If you are a garage owner – I started off when I said anybody who had invested the money in the business wanted his to get best returns out of it. So how do you do that? Ther eare two ways. One is if you are a driver, you have drivers who drive you car so not in garage. Other is, if the driver is treated well, you are getting the maximum out of him, and your business is good. Any way is – he leases out his cars and gets – so how can he get maximum lease on his car? If you, if I give you my car to drive and if you make money out of it, you will pay me. If you don’t, you won’t pay me. These alliance people come up with idea that a driver drives a car for 12 hours and makes about 30 dollars. Which is illogical. ********* because any driver, any person, today the minimum salary in this country was at that time also, 5 dollars. 5 to 6 dollars, 5.15. nobody would put his neck out for 5.15 in driving a car when he could easily get 7-8 dollars. I know today my owners were makinga bout 200 per shift at the minimum. 200 net. So I don’t agree with anybody who says that. ********
28:24 – how many fares does the driver pick up during the 12 hours? I want to ask that person who has given you the explanation. In the city I want to know – how many pickups does a driver do? And I will tell you why. Every hour, according to our calculation, he does about 10-15 pickups in the city. And if it is done, the minimum a driver does is about, at that time 2.00, now a little more. So it does about 4 dollars per trip that he has to do. And he does it not only that, for those 15 trips, the tips he gets is more than that. 45-50 dollars an hour. These are the drivers’ calculations who are doing the business.
30:40 today the medallion has soared to 330. would you like to put money into a losing proposition? Would anybody, an owner, whether garage owner or individual, would he like to invest more and more money into a business which is not making money? If my car is standing there for one week the money I lose would be much more tan what the driver makes. If that is the case, would I – that’s my question. I say why would a business, if suppose have motels around the country – today you go to a motel and say it’s rundown. No good business. And still people invest more and more into business and why? Because they know business going to give us money.
33:00 would you like to work in a business, in a business, as an individual, your labor – what are you doing is your labor. Would you labor in an industry where you are – it’s a losing proposition?
34:00 I am the owner, I odn’t want to work for a boss. Would I work for myself in a losing thing? Whether I pay lease to owner, mortgage for medallion, money for car – everything is tere. I’m still a driver, am I not? If I’m a driver, everybody should look onto everybody as a driver. Why should I segregate that I am a car owner? I am a lease owner? I am a medallion owner? What difference does it make?
35:30 they are segregating the driver, why? Today if anybody is hurt in the industry, whole industry is hurt. If they think the driver driving a car, he doesn’t have money to invest, paying garage owner and paying for car, if he is hurt, the industry is hurt. No segregation is good in an industry. Unless the industry unifies. *******
36:30 – we started with that because the driver was not ready to come to a point of understanding.
37:06 may 21st planned by united and alliance together. ******** Then alliance went, we went to city hall, thse fellows came up, we have to have a strike before this. Alliance was there with us on that day. And it was on the podium of city hall when we said if don’t cooperate with us, mayor, we’ll go for a strike. *******But the 21st was there, but in second week he didn’t agree so we went for a strike, both of us on podium when diecided to have a stirke on may 21. it was second week of may.
38:40 – before that, when he came to know that we were going to have a strike, Giuliani, e said okay I’m ready to meet the leaders, you come down you sit on the table and we can talk, let’s not do anything. But on that day, Giuliani, he said no, I’m not interested in talking to anyone. First he says – the dep mayor comes out and says Giuliani is going to have a talk with you people. That was why we went to city hall. Then Giuliani said not interested in talking with people int in having a strike, if you cnacel your strike I will sit with you. ********
40:00 the deputy mayor called us and said wnate dto have a meeting with us, that is why we went to the city hall, and we were there, and we were expecting him to call us. The next day we went there and were expecting he would come out and talk to us. We were waiting for him. But mr. Giuliani, he goes inside, don’t know hwat city hal meeting he has, deputy mayor comes out and tells us that Giuliani is not interested in talking, unless you call off the strike. ***********
41:20 because the tlc had started a series of meetings with us, had started talking to us, calling us, even we had a gathering before that, and I believe that was april something. We had a meeting in queens where we called the deputy tlc commissioner, we called the airport captain and we called the tlc squad captain, and all of them, we called them to that place to say, let’s start talking, driver is not in good shape, let’s do something for him. There is where we were told that Giuliani, the deputy commissioner comes and says okay the city is ready to listen to the grievances of taxi driver. This all was going on. In the meantime, as I told you, she became a little too aggressive, bhairavi. Didn’t want to participate in beginning with this process. ********** When we announced strike she came to office, she said can you make me a part of it? We said no problems, we are not there for an individual, we were there for the industry. The more the better, that’s it.
We called 2,000 drivers, in queens on 31st street. The harassment at airport, the tlc ticketing and the tlc dep commissioner, all came down to meeting and gave us assurances, we are going to listen to your grievances. And at that stage it looked they were going to be complying with whatever we wanted.
1:13 those seventeen rules are, don’t have paper here with me, those were 17 grievances that we put down to the city, the tlc is part of the city, we had put those grievances down to them, and these were, they created those 17 rules out of the thigns that we wanted them to do. Instead of helping us out in what our demands were, they tried to put thse 17 rules. ********
2:24 at that time we had requested them that these thing what we wanted, these small small things, the driver is just standing there, at this moment to be honest with you, at this moment I —
3:13 nobody up to that stage had put up what that driver was going through. Nobody had listed what was the problems with the drivers, specific problems. Now when the specifics were given to them, they started thinking on it. The tlc started thinking on it. That these things, oh these are the things that the drivers are being harassed with. So they instead of eliminating those things, they wanted to put a legal stamp on it to make it, oh, no, these are legal things, we cannot help you. ************ this is the cause. We had pointed out to tem that these are the 17 things that are problematic to uor drivers and we should try to eliminate them. What they did was, the city came to know – the only mistake – I agree united made a mistake was getting all those things at one time to the tlc, and giving them to have a plan of action which they could have a legal stamp on it and put it to them.
5:02 – once we heard about it, we went to them and said this is wrong, what we asked you was to eliminate them, minimize them, you backfired, you tried to double cross us, and making them legla, so if you don’t eliminate them we’ll have to go on strike. They said no, please don’t go on strike, we’ll have an open meeting.
5:45 announced may 28 they’ll have an open discussion. Why did we want to go on a strike for? Because we had put those 17 things to them and we had try to show them these are the problems for the drivers. So they said okay, let’s look into it. But how did they look into it? They made those things, they called us, and I was the first person to go there with dep commish and he said vijay come down, we are discussing this, he said we are sorry but because you people have pinpointed the way we are harassing the driver, have to legalize this, so you cannot say harrassment, but it is legal law. *********
7:12 in the meantime what done was, they had already double crossed us. I said this is no good, this open discussion is no good. Either you eliminate them or we go on strike. Then you know they said no, going to go on disucssion, don’t go on striek. That is where the mayor stepped in.
8:20 – it was first week of may. We said if you don’t do it we go on a striek on may 21st. that was the date we gave them. They said no, don’t go on strike, that is when the city stepped in. that is where we were called on the podium in city hall, where we went and he said I’m going to discuss with you. In afternoon he comes out and says no, I will not disucss with anyone going on strike.
10:15 – it was good, the direction was we are at least, after a long time, the driver has united and the total industry has united. Not saying the driver, industry has united and come up as an industry. That was the best thing out of that strike. We thought industry would work as an industry.
11:44 I told you in beginning. The problem was, there are two aspects to this. Neither bhai is a driver, neither myself is a driver only problem is she was politically motivated, and we were trying to be industrially motivated. According to – she had some things to say politically to the city. She wanted to strike as a politician. We wanted to strike as a city. I don’t know what her motive was. The thing is, this total process, where was bhairavi? When this total thing, from 97 december to april, where was she? She wasn’t a part of any discussions, she wasn’t a part of anything, the ongoing process. She became a part when may 21st strike was announced. That is what she did. ***********
13:32 – she became a part, she called us up, okay come down, have a seat. I don’t know what organization she represents. Nobody heard of it.
14:26 – there was no alliance, no organization known as alliance, before the united yellow announced the strike.
15:00 motorcade drivers – came out about three days before, on the 18th or 19th, there was a flyer which was in the hands of the city, and the tlc, they called us up, have you printed this? And the flyer said, that manhattan, made into an island, that all the bridges and the tunnels would be blocked. And it was such – like a terrorist attack. It was a semi terrorist attack, it said the bridges – the city had to come into action. The driver was petrified. ******** why? Because his livelihood was threatened by that flyer. The industry was petrified. The industry was petrified. It was threatened the very being of the industry was threatened. Why? Because the flyer said it is going to do something which is unheard of. ***** the bridges, the tunnels everything would be blocked by the taxi drivers.
They called us and they said vijay this is wrong. They had agreed to us for the motorcade. May 4, we had our first meeting with the city, the police and all that, gave it that we are going on 21st this motorcade thing, the police and everybody called us up, it was decided, okay, peaceful motorcade, just tell us your route, all this nypd commissioners and all that, we’ll have a second meeting with you. Second meeting on may 11. then the flyer was not out. Then also had agreed. Ten this was the may 13, the strike went on, then we had a meeting with them on may 18 where this flyer goes out, that day they said we will not allow any motorcade to come from the bridge, no empty taxi would be allowed to ply over the bridge or the tunnel. ********* without a passenger from queens into manhattan.
18:55 – some ghostwriter put the flyer out. And that is where, we attacked the city after this, that they put the flyer on us. We went to court, and where we got permission to come to motorcade also. The flyer is not ours, and we are going to do this. In the meantime what happened was, okay, the court gave us the permission to have a motorcade. They ruled asians the city. That is what happened. *********
20:15 because of the flyer, industry was petrified. That the action, the city would take against them would ruin their livelihood. That their total livelihood would go to the drain if the investors, the drivers, everybody would lose. So that is why when we started and when we were there on 21st, the drivers, the city came in – the strength, the cops came in with the strenght there that day, looked like there was a big terrorist attack on that 21st. ********* then also that day, firs they said no motorcade allowed, no taxi allowed to stand at place supposed to collect, giving tickets left and right, on 21st street in queens. We were trying to collect there. ******* commissioner says vijay not allow you to stand. Then mr. norman siegal came in and said how can you say that? From new york civil liberties.
22:12 on may 18th, 19th, the flyer had come out, they said no, permission given to us initially was canceled, the city said no, anybody who collects at that place in queens where the motorcade was supposed to start, and if any taxi without a passenger comes over the bridge or through the tunnel, he would not be allowed or be charged. Then we started collecting at 36st street and 21st on the 21st. Started about 7 in the morning, about 150 people ther eto begin with. **********8 they were just going to try to put us behind bars, the city cops. So what happened, norman siegel stepped in, how can you stop them from having a rally? Don’t allow them to have a motorcade, – then cops agreed and gave us protection to go over the bridge.
1:55 for us to walk down to city hall as a procession. Parked cars there in queens itself, walked over 59th street bridge.
2:30 we came to the city hall and by the time we reached city hall, the strength had become 5,000. in front of city hall also, we were not allowed to have a rally. And in the meantime, the city said no, you cannot collect in front of city hall, but they gave us permission to go to 40 rector street, that is the tlc office. ***** that is where we collected. Our rally was on the 21st and then we had all this processions and all that.
3:33 – after this rally on 21st, we told mr. norman siegal, he went and filed a complaint. Those 17 rules on the 28th, we filed a complaint that we want a rally on 28th. Today they have stopped us because of the flyer, flyer is not ours. If want to contest it, we’ll contest it. They said okay. Norman siegal went to the court, he says let us contest this, let us go and contest city ruling that they didn’t allow us to have a motorcade on the 21st. we went and contested and as you know we won for the 28th when we were going to have meeting, open session for 17 rules city was going to pass. ********
5:50 miss bhairavi, she came to the office and she said, we don’t want to have 21st strike because the 13th strike was a success, let us not have two strikes very near to each other, as we had committed to 21st strike. We said mr. al sharpton was to be a part of 21st strike, we announced 21st strike on the 19th in mr. sharpton’s office, he had a press conference, he said why not, we should have a motorcade rally. The motorcade as I have told you, if a person who has the profession he is doing a driver without a car is no good. But a driver behind the wheel of the car will tell the city that this is the person who is suffering and this is because of this yellow thign he is driving. ************ it is no use, it had made no impact, you can have 10 strikes. As I told you I can collect 10,000 people but if there are 2000 cars with driers, that will have 10 cars.
8:00 this is a service industry. The taxi industry is a service industry. If I do and make strikes every now and then, service industry, what does a service industry do? A service industry is which helps people around city. If every day I sit at home, don’t ply my taxis, what am I doing? I’m torturing city people. We wanted to have a rally, what would a motorcade do? Would start at a certin time, end at certain time, people would iknow THESe are the people who are tortured and they are not interested in torturing the city. **********
12:13 – it was on 19th or 20th, press conference called by al sharp[ton when we announced the strike, that is press conference I know of.
12:47 the third strike, after when we came down to 40 rector street, the tlc commission office, we were there, had strength of 5000, started with 150 from queens. By the time we reached 40 rector, we had a strength of about 5000 people drivers. ************ we were not allowed to have a rally or speak out at city hall but they gave us permission to go down to 40 rector street and we could have whatever we wanted to say, we could do that, and that is where, when we said okay they have not allowed us the motorcade thing, and they were still persisting would have public hearing on the 28th and that is where mr. norman siegel said why not have a motorcade that day, that is where manifested into the third strike. ********
14:30 court said because we cannot allow you to have a motorcade at the peak hours, going to block people and as you’ve already said don’t want to disturb public life, what we weould suggest is, the –
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Ultimately what we are trying to do is create a better env for an industry so just throwing stone at each other is not going to solve the problem ********
:33 ultimately it is the garage owner also survives on the driver. The owner driver also survives as a driver. Anybody who is there survives as a driver only. So that is why my contention has been from the very first day, let’s not segregate, let’s take the industry as a whole together, we are trying to solve the problems of the industry, if I am going to take individual parts and break down, you are not going to get anything out of it and that is what is going to happen.
1:52 infighting will not solve any problem. Firs tour enemy is the city and the tlc. Let us tackle them first, ruin them, get them on ground. Then it is possible, we can have, we will clean ourselves later on. Once we have achieved the bigger enemy is tlc and the city. **********
3:10 – the court gave us permission to have a rally at 5 o clock in the morning. From 5 colock in the monrning is not a time. ******** just as a token thing to show the city, we have a bunch of cars rallied up, we went, we had a rally. About 200, it started from the same place, 21st st 36th avenue in queens to the city hall. At that time what – the roads were clear, we just plied downa dn came down, that’s it, took about half an hour. It was just to show the city that the court, the legal sstem of this country just showed us that nobody can be ??. you can achieve what you want.
4:45 it was just a farce. It looked like a farce. I entered the arena, I called it the arena, everybody was there, commissioners had already decided, I went up to diane mckechnie and said whya re you doing this, already decided it. She says vijay I cannot help it. I said is this going to be an open sharing? It is just a farce. It was a farce. It doesn’t make a difference, the commissioners had already decided. The rules as I told you, the 17 things, they said thse are the problems you people are facing, let’s pout a legal stam pon it. Legal stamp already, just a show face. ************
6:06 I told mckechnie, it’s no use having a public hearing. When we gave you the 17 rules in the beginning, we gave you the 17 problems int eh beginning, you have made that into rules, so what is the use of it? And the commissioners at that time, they were not listening to anything, just sitting there. ************ they were not listening, they were just you know, each one was talking to each other, all the 7 , 5 commissioners, they were sitting there, had been already appointed by mr. Giuliani, being appointed by mr. Giuliani who had already shown his anger, he was against the relief that would be given to the driver or the taxi industry, he had already shown he was against us, it was no use.
7:30 they became rules. We filed a case against – Giuliani made one silly statement, he called the taxi driver a terrorist. We went to court and recently we won a judgment against him, it took two years after Giuliani resigned, now we one that case, united yellow given money, it showed city was wrong in calling us taxi terrorist.
8:30 It was somebody stupid enough to put a spanner into the total process, ongoing process.
9:10 some of them – now the problems at the airport, we have already solved, we have taken care of it, such as the illegal plying of the cars, you know what happens is, when you go to the airport, you see private cars standing on other side. And the yellow cabs are on one side. The people, the dispatchers themselves, were trying to put the passengers into private cars and taking away the passengers from the yellow cabs. ****** we took tlc commissioner there. It’s a changed tlc, it’s a better tlc now. Than what it was at diane’s period. It’s a slow process.
10:37 now it listens to the driver, when we put our grievances, they try to take some action, take action no, but try to take some action. At that time it was nothing. Giuliani regime itself was anti taxis. This regime is not that anti the taxi industry. Only thing is I still say if the taxi industry wants to do, let’s not put the taxi industry into factions. Let’s take the taxi industry as a whole and go as a whole to the tlc, we’ll be able to get things done faster. *********
11:55 the taxi alliance, as you have rightly put it, they were trying to break up the industry into pieces. This is a driver, this is a garage owner, this is a medallion owner, that way the industry doesn’t work. ****** what you have to do is take total industry togethe rin the beginning and fight against the bigger menace, that is he tlc and the city. Once we have achieved that ten you can cleanse the industry itself.
13:03 you cannot achieve anything if you don’t sit on the table. You have to put your viewpoint and see the other persons viewpoint and then react, as we did. We gave tem the op, we did not go for strike first, gave tlc opportunity in beginning itself. Strike is the last resort. Aggressive action is the last resort, collective action is the first resort. ********** if we don’t have collective action, aggressive ness will not take ??
14”00 united yellow at the moment, because of that terrorist thing, we have in a way, we are not very much active, because we don’t see at this moment, we wanted a fare hike, we got it from the tlc, we wanted the airport problem to be solved, we have solved. We are trying to take up specific problems and trying to achieve. That is what united yellow is doing. **********
14:55 we didn’t want mayor to come up with such abusive and harsh words. We were lucky. I’m thankful to the judicial. It was nothing. It was about 3,000 in total. The money is not the criteria. Only things was that the city was wrong in using such terminology. ********
16:25 we are still taking up problems for the taxi industry, not for you and me.
16:55 at the peak we had about 8000 members and at this moment we have 2000 people. All the taxi industry, all parts of the industry. We started with that and then upgraded into the industry. *********
18:00 I have again and again asked, when was it born? Alliance was born after the announcement of the strike. Rules were announced means when the total process, with the discussion, with the city, the tlc was started, they were not anywhere. When the progress was made, when we started threatening the tlc, and the city, and we gave them the agenda of the rules or the problems of the driver, the alliance was born after that. And they tried to sit on our back and say okay, now you take the second seat and we come into the driver’s seat. ******** but we are not bothered about those things, united yellow is not bothered. The thing is we achieved the result, and at this moment united yellow, we are satisfied able to do something for industry and not segregate the industry.
002: track 1: ambience of room.
Track 2: at every stage composition of drivers has changed, and as has changed, associatiojn has changed. Never been a consistent association of taxi industry, and that is what the problem with the industry. ****** it is really hard to organize and it is done – as I told you, the clicking of the meter is where the driver goes down. You tell him you have to organize come and collect, he will not, he wil say okay, do something for me but I will not stand because I cannot waste time, he doesn’t’ believe in wasting time. How do you achieve anything? How do you achieve? That is why every tiem about 7,8 years ago there was a strike once, that created a furrow some years ago, now again everything is disjointed, now getting a bangla association coming up, because now number of drivers isncreasing is bangladeshi. As the composition changes, the associations go on changing, and all these people, all the drivers, the total industry gets a new face lift or a face down. *****
2:21 we were going for the industry. Our backing – whatever we did, whatever we do still, today also when I go to tlc meting and all that, I still go to them as for the industry, I don’t go for a special segment of people, I don’t’ go and complain what my industry problems are.
These are different stories. Every story has a different ending. And a beginning also. I tell you, the material of every story is – what everyone of us is trying to do is in his or her way different. But I still tell the industry, tell everybody, let’s go wherever, we go, let’s go as an industry. Different ethnic groups which come in, the composition may change, their way of thinking goes on changing, their priorities go on changing. *****
4:07 different versions of the story is different. Some people are opportunist. I don’t want to – as I told you, different associations, as we said in 97, only association existing was united yellow, up to one month or two months before strike, only association in action was united yellow, but in may, because of some people, some opportunists, the alliance, taxi alliance, they tried to have opportunistic and it could be they were coming from a different political background, tried to utilize that. ************ for the benefit – for coming into the limelight. The united yellow was never interested in coming into limelight, we were interested in solving problems and we are still doing that.
5:40 limelight, like just crating division in the industry. What do you gain, if there is an association which is already existing, you come into it, come into the body and hence it in a way, that the force of that body becomes more strengthful and achieves more. But if I pull this string this way and you pull that string that way it is bound to break and create factions. Factions never achieve anything. **********
6:55 at this moment what it looks as if they wanted to come into the media, come into the media and see themselves being place there, that is what it seems to me at the moment.