Are licensed taxi drivers justified in their fears that ride-sharing apps like Uber are going to take away a significant portion of their business? In New York City — the nation’s largest market for hired rides — the answer appears to be yes.
The statistical website Fivethirtyeight.com got data from the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission for the second quarter of 2015 and compared it with numbers from the same quarter a year earlier to see how the market was changing.
It found that in the borough of Manhattan’s “core” area — i.e., the southern half of the island, where the vast bulk of the business is — the number of passengers picked up by Uber drivers during the quarter increased by 3.82 million year-over-year. And the number of taxi pick-ups? It declined by almost the same amount — 3.83 million.
“Throughout Manhattan, riders have shifted from taxis to Ubers millions of times, perhaps attracted to features Uber promotes as advantages: newer cars, no need to hail, driver ratings and no tipping,” Fivethirtyeight.com said.
Taxis are still carrying more than four times as many riders as Uber drivers in New York City overall, but the trend lines are clearly going up for Uber and down for taxis.
Meanwhile, although business is good for Uber, some of its drivers are less than thrilled with the current business model. An Uber drivers’ group called Uber Freedom has called for a three-day strike in major U.S. cities over this weekend, urging drivers to shut down their apps and stay off the job.
The group wants Uber to add a tipping option to the app, to increase rates for UberX rides by 60 percent, and increase the minimum fare and the cancellation fee to $7.
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