By on March 19, 2015

Uber Driver in NYC

Though it looks like there are cabs galore in New York, there are more Uber drivers traversing Madison Avenue than taxi drivers these days.

The New York Post reports the Taxi and Limousine Commission found that Uber had 14,088 black and premium vehicles in its roster, compared to 13,587 medallion cabs under the TLC.

The transportation network company has served the city’s five boroughs since May 2011, but its competitive rates and higher wages are the main drivers that have led it to overtake the traditional livery service.

On the other hand, taxis make 10 times more trips than Uber drivers, and some veteran drivers aren’t likely to make the jump, even if Uber drivers can make double the average salary of a medallion driver.

Meanwhile, critics have accused the TNC of taking tax revenue that could go into public transit and taxi services, as well as increasing congestion issues in Manhattan, where most Uber trips occur.

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27 Comments on “Uber Overtakes Traditional Taxis In NYC...”

  • avatar

    Are we talking private car owners that use their car to drive around people who can order for an Uber ride through an app? That’s been outlawed in Germany, the Netherlands and more EU countries. As a matter of fact, can’t think of an EU country in which Uber is allowed. The main issue is that you need all sorts of permits and licenses to use your car for paid passenger transportation.

    • 0 avatar

      Legislation for the benefit of special interests.

    • 0 avatar

      I think what you are describing there is the Uber Pop service, which is definately controversial. It’s almost like an automotive Air BnB.

      Black and Premium are more like private hire cars, and it’s legal in many european countries.

      Of course, the taxi companies would want to outlaw the whole thing because they don’t want competition.

    • 0 avatar

      Ah yes, the benevolent hand of socialism – Government knows what is best for you.

      Presumably, each of these governments has already issued a drivers license to Uber drivers. If you have shown competence in driving a vehicle, why do you need to ask the government for permission to drive around others?

      Some of these countries even have some sort of nationalized healthcare – so accident injuries are already the responsibility of the public.

      Let’s call these Uber laws what they are – Government protecting the incumbents via monopoly status.

      • 0 avatar

        Nationalized healthcare, like US veterans get.

        Oh the horror.

      • 0 avatar

        “Presumably, each of these governments has already issued a drivers license to Uber drivers. If you have shown competence in driving a vehicle, why do you need to ask the government for permission to drive around others?”

        Well, driver’s license plus commercial insurance. Your private policy doesn’t cover you if you are using your car for business. That includes carrying passengers for hire. Otherwise I agree with you. Driver’s license, commercial insurance. That’s all the Government really needs to check before issuing a livery/taxi license.

        PS: To anyone thinking of being a taxi driver, do note that like private insurance, different states demand different levels of coverage for commercial insurance.

        • 0 avatar

          Why should government check for “Commercial insurance”? Are you suddenly more likely to run over third parties because one of your passengers pitches in for gas?

          At least 90% of the whole “mandatory insurance”/”at fault” determination nonsense is nothing but subsidies for lawyers with coquetry of leeches in tow. If people are scared of riding in Uber cars driven by people without “commercial insurance”, they can very well either ask before getting in the car, suggest Uber ad a switch to their profile to only flag them suitably insured drivers, or talk to their friendly insurance agent about getting a policy covering accidents happening to them as a result in catching a ride with a non commercially insured Uber driver.

          • 0 avatar

            Regardless of any government mandate, the contract between you and your insurance company prohibits you from using your car to carry passengers for hire. If you do, your insurance is void – i.e., you have no car insurance at all. For anything.

            If you do carry passengers for hire, you move into a higher-risk category and you will need to pay a higher premium for that coverage.

          • 0 avatar

            There really is no better reason than you signed a contract with your insurance agent, and in that contract it says that you won’t be covered if you use your vehicle to engage in for-hire commercial activity beyond commuting to your workplace.

            I think that we should be more careful with government regulation but I like the idea that if someone runs a red light and clobbers me, I have hope of being compensated. Conversely, if I make a mistake and I total someone else then the incident won’t ruin my finances and the other person can be compensated. They don’t have to immediately worry if I will be able to pay for the damages. This is one particular government regulation that I agree with.

      • 0 avatar

        The word “socialism” needs to be added to the TTAC spam filter.

  • avatar
    John R

    I’m a bit late to the Uber debate…How are Uber drivers NOT (illegal) gypsie cabbies?

    • 0 avatar

      I don’t get it either. And how is this different than Lyft, other than that the car has to be black?

    • 0 avatar

      A taxi medallion allows you to pick up street hails. With uber you request them via the app – not via a street hail.

      • 0 avatar

        That’s right. You arrange your ride via an app.

        My brother and his wife in NYC (Manhattan) absolutely LOVE this service that Uber and Lyft drivers are providing. And they don’t have to deal with cabbies’ odors, attitudes, heavy accents or speech impediments.

        Uber and Lyft may not be completely legal everywhere, but word of mouth advertising is often better than money can buy.

  • avatar

    An NYC taxi medallion used to cost about a million dollars, what are they going for now?

    • 0 avatar

      Last I read, they have fallen below $800k and will probably continue to drop. Still absurd when you consider it’s just a business license for a single vehicle.

      • 0 avatar
        dash riprock

        Absurd yes. Of course the value of the medallion was mostly in anticipated capital appreciation not from the profits generated by operating that single taxi. With Uber potentially taking ever larger parts of the market, I am interested to see if there is a total crash in the value of these medallions.

  • avatar

    First I should note that this comment is in regards to UberX, the “ride sharing” service. Not over Uber black or any other that work with licensed livery drivers.

    I already brought this up with my response to Zerofoo’s comment but I wanted to expand more in my own comment. I personally find this fascinating. Most taxi regulations are B.S. but I for one wholeheartedly agree with requiring taxi drivers to carry commercial insurance. I am fully aware that UberX features a $2M policy that covers anything that a driver’s normal insurance doesn’t cover, but I find the way they structure it to be a little hinkey. Especially how they say that it kicks in only after what the driver’s insurance already covers. Well, since most private insurance won’t cover commercial activity, that coverage would be $0. I am not a lawyer but I don’t get how this scheme satisfies any state’s livery insurance requirements.

    But now that UberX is becoming so widespread and popular I think we will get to see how their insurance scheme holds up in the real world and if it’s viable. My prediction is that the brown fecal matter will impact the rotary ventilation device at some point and there will be a big front page accident and court case. One that will possibly stick Uber Technologies Inc. with the bill for an UberX driver accidentally plowing into a busload of orphans and nuns. And then UberX will have to work with the existing traditional insurance scheme, which I think will be a good thing.

    But I am no expert and I can easily be wrong on this.

  • avatar

    So a larger number of people signed up for unregulated app that presumes to take fares based on a service that is wholly unregulated except by a private organization that has an intense interest to maximize drivers (even if the driver doesn’t make a living wage doing so).

    This is surprising how? Taxis are regulated for a number or reasons but not limited to: Keeping traffic within line of service limitations, making sure companies and drivers are verifiable and have a direct line of ownership, and of course the fact that as a service using public areas to benefit a private interest the public has a right to see a portion of that profit returned.

    I understand the old warhorses of the Cold War era still scream ‘socialism’ at the very threat of the government keeping you safe but Uber isn’t the savior you want to jump into the arms of anymore than a knife. But this news shouldn’t be surprising. Uber is going to peak then dwindle to manageable level as drivers fall out of the program due to costs and lack of constant fares. Not to mention the inevitable legislation that puts them into a complex business class that needs to come along to protect citizens.

    • 0 avatar
      S2k Chris

      “the fact that as a service using public areas to benefit a private interest the public has a right to see a portion of that profit returned. ”

      Oh gag me.

      • 0 avatar

        I would but then you would cry oppression because a private citizen with a different point of view challenged your small-minded perception of reality. :)

  • avatar

    Uber in NYC is different from other markets – there are no “private” drivers using their personal vehicles.

    Uber X is run through a traditional car service operation, just with the Uber dispatch and payment interface. These are TLC drivers – the only difference between Uber X, XL, and Black here is the type of vehicle. The same insurance and other regulator requirements apply equally to Uber X/Black and traditional car service drivers here. The Uber X cars have the same TLC licensing decals and plates as any other car service.

    Uber X fares here in NYC are not as low as other markets, in part due to the cost of these TLC-sanctioned operations, but this was the bargain that Uber struck with regulators in this market. One key advantage here is that hailing an Uber via the app allows you to skip the entire taxi line at the airports and major venues, like Madison Square Garden.

    The Uber X drivers I’ve spoken to are much happier with Uber than a traditional car service or taxi setup. I’ve found them to simply be much better drivers – much more sane behind the wheel, no white-knuckle rides like with some taxi drivers. The fares are sometimes cheaper than neighborhood car services, other times not, but Uberpool is quickly changing that – I’ve heard of people paying $30 for a ride from LGA/JFK to midtown Manhattan, easily half the price of such a taxi ride.

    • 0 avatar

      That’s awesome to hear. That clears my last concern about Uber. With that in place, I would be thrilled to use that service. Do you know if there is a similar deal in place for Dallas?

  • avatar
    Pat D

    We just spent a week in NYC. Stayed near Columbus Circle because it was close to the Metropolitan Opera. Walked everywhere, including the theater district and Enterprise Museum. We walked a couple of miles to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. When we came out, it was raining. Could we get a cab? Not a hope in Hades. The one cab driver who stopped for us didn’t like our destination and sped off. We did take a cab to La Guardia. He got us there without too much hassle. Next time, we’ll be using Uber X.

    On a side note, I noticed the cabs in NYC are Priuses, Camry Hybrids, previous model Ford Escape hybrids and a few old Panthers. Some green initiative. I gather.

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