Cabby

After disrupting the taxi industry, Uber’s listing NYC cabs on its app to fuel growth

Friday, March 25, 2022 by Robinhood Snacks |
Trying to track down my Uber cab [Daniel Grill/Getty Images]

Trying to track down my Uber cab [Daniel Grill/Getty Images]

Big yellow taxi takes a turn… but Uber’s in the driver’s seat. The NYC Taxi and Limousine Commission has agreed to list all its cabs on the Uber app. Uber says taxi riders will see prices up front and pay roughly the same amount for a cab as they would for an UberX. Cabbies will see how much they’d make on a given ride, with the power to accept or deny. Uber says taxi drivers could make more with Uber than from regular street hailing, while Uber and its taxi partners will take a cut of each ride.

“Call a cab”… a phrase never uttered by 20-somethings with smartphones. Uber’s rivalry with taxis could best be compared to Giants vs. Yankees (#tense). Starting from when Uber was UberCab, the disruptive startup clashed with taxi unions and regulators.

  • 2010: California transit organizations ordered Uber to cease and desist, and San Francisco threatened Uber execs with 90 days of jail time for every ride offered.
  • 2014: The Verge published leaked documents revealing Uber’s cutthroat tactics for poaching Lyft drivers.
  • 2018: A wave of suicides among cabbies called attention to record-high medallion prices and the challenges of competing against the modern convenience of ride-hail apps.
  • 2021: By last year, the pandemic and ride-hailing apps had pushed two-thirds of NYC yellow cabs off the streets.
THE TAKEAWAY

If you can’t beat ’em, leverage them… The ride-hailing app that once vowed to disrupt cab commerce now thinks food-delivery services, public-transit partnerships, and traditional taxis will fuel its next growth phase. Plus, Uber is likely getting a great deal: it’s absorbing a massive fleet of drivers in one of its most lucrative markets during a dire driver shortage. For the taxi drivers, the road ahead is less clear.