Ali Najmi, a Queens-based defense attorney and election lawyer, was named to New York City’s Taxi Medallion Task Force by Public Advocate Jumaane Williams Tuesday.
A 2018 City Council law created the task force and charged the body with studying the prices of taxicab medallions, which surged to more than $1 million before plummeting in recent years. The task force will also recommend changes to the city laws and policies related to medallions.
“I am honored to be appointed by the Public Advocate to this task force. I look forward to working with my colleagues to develop a real solution for struggling medallion owners and drivers,” said Najmi, the vice president of the South Asian Indo-Caribbean Bar Association of Queens.
Immigrants from Bangladesh, Pakistan and India make up nearly half of all yellow cab drivers and more than a third of green cab drivers, according to city statistics.
At least six cab drivers have committed suicide while mired in deep debt and facing mounting loans over the past two years.
The drastic decrease in medallion pricing was long attributed to the arrival of ride-hailing app companies like Uber and Lyft, until a May report in the New York Times revealed price-fixing and predatory lending in the taxi industry.
In a letter, Williams wrote that Najmi and the task force would help resolve “the serious fiscal issues affecting both working New York drivers and our economy overall.”