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The Uber effect: how San Francisco's cab use dropped 65-percent

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Hailing a ride has never been easier -- just take out your phone, tap on an app and wait for your internet-wrangled chauffeur to arrive. Companies like Uber and Lyft are reinventing the transportation industry, and traditional taxi services are feeling it. According to Kate Toran, interim Taxis and Accessible Services director for the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, the average taxi is only making about 504 trips per month. Two years ago (specifically, in March of 2012) the average trip per taxi averaged at 1,424.

"There's been a real reduction," she told the SFMTA board of directors earlier this week, "but obviously this doesn't tell the whole story." Without hard data from the transportation apps, the bigger picture is just unclear. Either way, the SFMTA is trying to find ways to retain and attract drivers to traditional taxi programs, and has moved to waive fees for dispatch renewal, color scheme renewal and taxi driver applications. The city is also considering allowing taxis to use wrap advertising on their cabs.

At least competition is forcing the taxi industry to evolve -- Troan's report says that 80% of the San Francisco taxi fleet can be e-hailed with Flywheel, and another 60% of the fleet has adopted Curb. More drivers are accepting credit cards these days too, and taxi drivers still have exclusive rights to pick up passengers at the airport. Will the taxi companies be able to bounce back from the Uber effect? Maybe, but there's only one San Francisco transportation firm that offers DeLorean rides. You can check out Toran's full slide presentation at the source link below.

[Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons]

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