In NY, Chinese Trade Restaurant Work for Car Services

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NEW YORK CITY— As the economy recovers, business has been improving for on-call car services—similar to private taxi services—that target large companies and airports. This has led to a big increase in Chinese drivers, who are attracted to the industry by the relatively safe working environment, flexible working hours, and low barriers to entry.

Huang Yu-qing, who has worked for an on-call car service for five years, told China Press that most of the big on-call services in the New York area have contracts with large corporations, including banks and Wall Street firms. So when the economy crashed starting in 2007, many car services collapsed as well.

Chen Ping, owner of TLC Vocational Training Center, which trains limo drivers, said that compared with the restaurant industry, the car-service industry is a better choice for many Chinese workers because the hours are better, while the income is about the same. What’s more, they can work until their 50s or 60s as on-call drivers, while restaurant employees rarely work past their 40s. Chen said the business used to be dominated by South Asians, but an influx of former restaurant employees means that at some companies, 60 percent of drivers are now Chinese.