By: SAFURA KHAN, age 13, and NIKKI SAINT BAUTISTA
IndyKids: The New York Times reports that 84 percent of New York City taxi drivers are immigrants. Where do they come from?
Bill Lindauer: They come from places such as Pakistan, Bangladesh, West and East Africa, Latin America, North America and Egypt.
What do you think are the most important things readers should know about taxi drivers?
They are family people struggling to make a living. It’s very hard, grueling work. Please tip them well and remember they have wives and children just like most people. Some come from countries where they were lawyers, doctors and generals. They become taxi drivers to help with the transition. A lot of people drive a cab to pay for college.
What are some of your favorite experiences on the job?
Of course, anytime you have a pleasant conversation. I met a lot of famous people and had delightful conversations with them.
What advice would you give someone who wants to be a taxicab driver?
You have to know the city. You have to like people. You have to like driving, itself. You have to be street smart. Just because you know where Bloomingdales is,doesn’t mean you’re street smart.
When you retired from being a taxi driver, you became an organizer for the New York City Taxi Workers Alliance (NYTWA). What do you do?
I am a campaigns coordinator. We protest, strategize and contribute articles to the Alliance newspaper, Swift Change.
NYTWA was not a union until 2011 when it officially became part of AFL-CIO . What does this mean for taxi workers?
It means better working conditions.