Cabbie Nancy Reynoso is waiting for a different kind of passenger outside the Kingsbridge Armory in the Bronx.
She's picking up food packages, since few people are hailing taxis these days.
"As soon as it was declared a state of emergency, a pandemic, the business went down and I figured, what can I do to sustain myself and that's when we got this opportunity," Reynoso said.
The opportunity is a delivery program launched by the Taxi and Limousine Commission, after the coronavirus forced the shutdown of non-essential business and cabbies found themselves with few passengers to drive around the city.
“A lot of them stopped working, completely. Some of them are applying for unemployment, some type of benefit," Reynoso said. "Some of them have gotten sick and some of them have passed.”
The program pays a $15-an-hour minimum wage, plus reimbursement for gas, mileage and tolls.
There are 11,000 TLC-licensed drivers who have signed up.
The packages are distributed to drivers on a first-come, first serve basis at eight locations and delivered to as many as 100,000 people - seniors, the immune-compromised and others who are advised not to anyone else to leave their homes.
Reynoso started making deliveries a few days after the program launched.
The food can vary from fresh prepared meals to staple pantry items.
“Every day, it looks very different," Reynoso said.
Reynoso says the New Yorkers getting her deliveries are grateful for the food and her help; sometimes, they try to give a tip.
"I’m never gonna be thinking like, this is a delivery for Door Dash or Uber Eats, that you get a tip, this is for people who might be needy, who need these, who are low on income or lost their jobs," Reynoso said.
Reynoso says the driving not only puts money in her pocket. It also provides a sense of purpose.
“The money helps for bills because obviously I’m not working. But I think, more than the money, I feel I get to do something, to help in some way, with what’s going on in the city, and that’s the best for me," Reynoso said. “I feel like during this pandemic I just can’t stay there, and if I can help in some way, I think this is the way I can help, and it’s fulfilling.”