Is this the beginning of the end for NYC’s Yellow Cabs? For the first time, Uber has surpassed the city’s yellow cabs in daily ridership numbers. Here’s everything you need to know.
Despite suffering through a number of scandals recently, and competition from other rideshare services, Uber has reached the point many deemed inevitable; they overtook the daily average ridership of our very own yellow cabs.
The rideshare company, who are usually quite secretive with their ridership data, shared some with the New York Times. The Times report showed that in July, Uber had an average of 289,000 rides per day, beating the city’s yellow cabs by 12,000.
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How has Uber managed to conquer the city? The answer is twofold:
1. Transportation Deserts
Uber has taken advantage of NYC’s transit deserts in the outer boughs. In an interview with Splinter News back in 2015, Uber’s New York GM Josh Mohrer said drew this comparison between Yellow cabs and Uber:
The reality is, people like Uber because it’s reliable in a way that yellow cabs aren’t. If you supply-constrain Uber, it too will eventually become unreliable. Vehicles will focus on the high end in midtown Manhattan, rather than the outer boroughs.
Judging by the above quote, the outer boroughs we’re in Uber NY’s sights for quite some time. In the same Times article the note how half of the areas with increased Uber pickups, in the sample data they were given, were in Queens where residents live far from the subway. One commenter summed it up like this:
The Yellow Cabs abandoned the outer boroughs a long time ago, and aside from the Queens airports are virtually extinct.
2. The number of cars.
Yeah, it’s that simple. Uber benefits from a large number of vehicles available at any moment; they have access to 61,000 cars, dwarfing the 13,587 Yellow cabs.
Mix this above info with the fact that taxi medallions are at the lowest price they have been at for centuries, the future isn’t all that bright for our city’s iconic Yellow Cabs.