Outside Kennedy International Airport’s Terminal 4, the long line of New York City yellow cabs that in years past rotated like a conveyor belt to meet the demand of passenger arrivals has disappeared.
The wraparound rows where riders line up to hail a cab are empty. Where usually a dozen cabs idle to pick up travelers, last Thursday two were parked. The drivers can wait for hours before picking up a single passenger.
“I have no fares. There’s no flights coming in, no tourists visiting and there’s less people on the streets,” said Jean Metellus, a 71-year-old Queens resident who has owned his taxi since 1988. “So there’s no business, but we still have to pay the bills.”
The pandemic and the global travel restrictions introduced in March to slow the spread of the coronavirus have decimated the American tourism industry, taking with it the livelihoods of millions of people.