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Cabbie blames UBER, LYFT for financial woes before hanging self...


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Cabbie blamed Uber, Lyft for financial woes before hanging himself

A yellow-cab driver hanged himself because of financial ruin that he blamed on ride-hail apps such as Uber and Lyft — the fourth such suicide in the last four months, authorities said Wednesday.

Nicanor Ochisor, 65, was found in the garage of his Maspeth, Queens, home by his adult son on Friday, according to Richard Lipsky of the Taxi Medallion Owners and Drivers Association.

Ochisor is the first medallion owner to end his life over the flagging industry, he said.

Ochisor backed his home mortgage on his medallion, and planned to use the license to finance his retirement — but his dreams faded as the value of medallions plummeted from $1 million to around $180,000 over the last five years.


Ochisor made no secret he planned to end his life, according to friends.

“He said, ‘I’m old, I’m tired, and I’m not going to make it,’ ” fellow driver Nino Hervias, 59, recalled from a conversation with Ochisor last week.

“He talked to me about it [suicide] and said that’s the way he’s going to end,” friend and fellow medallion owner Dan Nitescu, 65, told The Post. “I told him to wait and it will get better.”

Ochisor got his medallion in 1989, according to the Taxi and Limousine Commission.

He drove nightly, and his wife took fares during the day, Nitescu said.

“They were working like that for about 25 years to raise family and save for college,” the grieving friend said.

But Ochisor had struggled for fares lately, Hervias said.

“He was only making $200 a day working 10 to 12 hours,” he said, adding that’s barely enough to cover overhead. “He was devastated.”

Ochisor planned to finance his retirement by leasing the medallion out for $3,000 a month — a reasonable rate five years ago, but now he’d be lucky to get $1,400 a month, Nitescu said.

To make matters worse, the couple used the medallion as collateral on their home mortgage and would have been on the hook if the bank called in its debts and the medallion didn’t cover what they owed.

“It used to be that you knew that even if you weren’t making it on a day-to-day basis, the equity in your medallion was going up,” Hervias said. “Now we have no backup. The psychological effect is terrible.”

Taxi and Limousine Commission officials sent their condolences to Ochisor’s loved ones.

“We are deeply distressed to learn that longstanding medallion operator Nicanor Ochisor took his own life,” said TLC Commissioner Meera Joshi.

“To all that he has left behind, his family, friends and his brothers and sisters in the industry, our heartfelt condolences — we mourn with you.”

Ochisor is the fourth TLC driver to commit suicide in as many months.

Broke livery driver Douglas Schifter killed himself with a shotgun outside the gates of City Hall on Feb. 5.

“I don’t know how else to try to make a difference other than a public display of a most private affair,” the driver wrote in a suicide note posted to Facebook.

Livery driver Danilo Castillo penned a lengthy suicide note lamenting the “disastrous” state of the industry on the back of a TLC summons before leaping to his death out of his Manhattan apartment window on Dec. 20.

A fourth TLC driver killed himself in February, according to the New York Taxi Workers Alliance. His name was not released.

Bronx Councilman Reuben Diaz Sr. has proposed a bill aimed at leveling the playing field in the taxi industry by charging app-based companies the same fees livery firms and drivers pay and limiting the number of vehicles that can operate.

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