The Uber Revolution is in full swing in New York City — heck, it’s pretty much starting world domination at this point — but is this trend actually beneficial for cities, or is it stirring up the public transportation pot just a little too much?
According to a recent Business Insider article, NYC cab drivers are not happy with how well Uber, Lyft, and other ride-sharing services have been doing. Data from the Taxi and Limousine Commission show that in New York City, the total number of passenger trips for the first half of 2015 has decreased by 10%, compared to a year ago.
This means that NYC taxis have provided only 77 million trips in the last six months, whereas they provided a total of 85.5 million trips in the first six months of 2014. Even more specifically, revenue from the month of June this past year was 7% lower than revenue from June, 2014; this 7% may not seem like much, but it actually equals approximately $981 million in lost revenue.
Overall, each individual taxi has lost an average 9% of its total revenue in just one year, and despite the best efforts of taxi drivers to protest the ride-sharing services that are taking away business, none of those protests have been successful in the U.S.
A large part of Uber’s appeal is that it’s available at the touch of a smartphone button — and considering that about 80% of Americans today now use smartphones, allowing passengers to get a ride using the Uber app isn’t difficult at all.
Of course, as Forbes noted in a recent article, getting people to download the app is much easier than getting them to actually use the app; it’s estimated that around 104,000 app downloads (on Android phones) occurred in the first half of 2015, but it’s currently not known how many of these users actually book a ride using the app. Any assessment of the true success of Uber — or damage of Uber, depending on how you look at it — is still not entirely accurate right now.
It is possible, however, to see that the decrease in taxi trips is causing plenty of disruptions in major cities across the country; in NYC and Washington D.C., for example, taxi drivers purposely created gridlocks on busy city streets to protest the rise of ride-sharing services.
Other legitimate taxi services have been forced to close down, and some have even declared bankruptcy, according to Business Insider, because the value of accredited taxi medallions has dropped so sharply in such a short time.
Taxi drivers have begun creating associations in these cities to combat ride-sharing services, but it’s uncertain just how successful these efforts will be.