Oct 9, 2018

Seventh NYC driver of 2018 commits suicide

Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

A seventh suicide this year among New York's professional drivers puts new pressure on the city to help resolve a financial crisis in the industry.

The big picture: Uber is the most visible face of the new "gig economy," the rise of freelance work with often irregular pay and no benefits. Given forecasts of the continued expansion of gig work, numerous experts have raised the issue of regulating it as a public policy priority, for instance by requiring portable benefits.

In a ceremony yesterday, fellow drivers and others remembered Fausta Luna, an Uber driver who jumped in front of a subway train and died on Sept. 26. Luna was deeply in debt, write the NY Post's Danielle Furfaro and Amanda Woods.

  • In August, amid a saturation of cabs, black limousines and ride-hailing vehicles, the New York City Council halted its issuance of new for-hire licenses. It is also studying a minimum wage for drivers.
  • The move, following the suicides of six drivers, was the first by any U.S. city.
  • Since 2011, when Uber launched in NYC, the number of licensed for-hire vehicles in the city has almost tripled to about 112,000.

Uber has favored portable benefits but fought caps on the number of drivers.

  • In a statement, an Uber spokesman told Axios, "We are devastated by this news and our deepest sympathies go to Mr. Luna’s family and loved ones during this difficult time.”

Go deeper

WHO won't call coronavirus a pandemic as cases spread

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

The World Health Organization will not yet call the coronavirus a pandemic, claiming that needs across affected countries are too varied and the classification would increase fear, per a briefing Monday.

The big picture: As South Korea and Italy stepped up emergency measures in efforts to thwart the spread of the virus, WHO expressed concern about infections with no clear link to China. COVID-19 has killed at least 2,620 people and infected almost 80,000 others, with all but 27 deaths occurring in mainland China.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 21 mins ago - Health

The global scramble to contain the coronavirus

Taking precaution, in the Philippines. Photo: Ezra Acayan/Getty Images

The coronavirus is spreading quickly in cities nowhere near Wuhan, China, and the window to prevent a global pandemic is narrowing.

Zoom in: Here's a look at what comes with a coronavirus outbreak in communities outside China that have been hardest hit so far.

Go deeperArrow39 mins ago - World