Uber is making New York City cab drivers miserable — and now they have proof

taxis new york city manhattan traffic jam
taxis new york city manhattan traffic jam

(Flickr / joiseyshowaa)

Taxi drivers aren’t happy with the effects that Uber and other ride-hailing services are having on their business.

Now New York cab drivers have the proof they need to plead their case to the city council, the same governing body that was a single vote away from drastically reducing the number of for-hire vehicles allowed on New York City streets.

Newly available data from the Taxi and Limousine Commission and analyzed by the New York Daily News, shows total trips in the first half of 2015 were down 10% compared to same period last year:

"Pickups for the iconic taxis that long ruled Manhattan streets plummeted 10% to 77 million in the first six months of 2015 — down from 85.5 million the year before, a Daily News analysis of trip data showed."

The data also shows declining revenues from yellow cab fares, according to the Daily News:

"The taxis collected $981 million through June of this year, a 7% drop compared with the $1.06 billion raked in over the same period last year.

"In real numbers, each cab brought in 9% less on average due to an increased number of taxi medallions and stiffer competition."

Last month, a bill that would cap the number of for-hire vehicles given permits was defeated after vocal protests by Uber drivers and supporters. Instead, the city announced a plan to study the effects of for-hire vehicles such as Uber on congestion in Manhattan.

Uber told Daily News reporters Nolan Hicks and Dan Rivoli that its fastest-growing areas are outside of Manhattan, areas underserved by yellow cabs.

The Taxi and Limousine Commission claims there are many more factors at play than just ride-hailing services, such as Citi Bike, the bike-share program that this summer expanded to more than double its footprint.

Uber driver
Uber driver


"While apps get the spotlight, there are so many things going on," TLC representative Allan Fromberg told Business Insider.

"If you look at how the taxi industries of cities with fewer change agents, like San Francisco, have weathered the changing landscape, a very strong argument can be made that the NYC market is actually quite resilient!"

Stiff competition has also caused the relative value of taxi medallions to plummet. In 2013, a taxi medallion was worth an estimated $1.3 million. Today, online listings range from $600,000 to $900,000.

Medallion owners are in a frenzy to protect their assets. The largest single owner of medallions, Gene Friedman of Taxi Club Limited, recently filed for bankruptcy, telling the Observer that the city was unwilling to work with him as the value of his medallions plummeted.

Taxi drivers in other US cities — such as Washington, DC, and Palm Beach, Florida — have protested Uber by gridlocking traffic in their respective cities.

Cab drivers in cities around the world have protested Uber's growing global footprint, too. In France, taxi drivers ambushed cars and set fires in June, bringing some of the country's main transport arteries to a total standstill in protest of Uber.

Last summer cabbies in London — convinced Uber drivers were breaking the law — essentially shut down parts of the city with a ton of congestion and traffic chaos. Cab drivers in other European cities — Berlin, Madrid, Lisbon, and Milan among them — have also held strikes to protest the company.

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