While certain tabloids had fun painting Mayor de Blasio as a pushover in the aftermath of the Uber v. de Blasio PR War of July 2015, many taxi drivers are continuing to rally against the city's decision to not cap Uber and other For Hire Vehicle companies this year.
These taxi drivers argue that increasing competition with Uber is cutting into their pool of potential riders. And yesterday, some number crunching on the part of the Daily News suggested that this might be the case. The tabloid has analyzed yellow cab data for the first half of 2015, and found that pickups have decreased by 10% since this time last year, from 85.5 million in the first half of 2014, to 77 million between January and June of 2015.
In terms of revenue, the News reports a 7% decrease overall—from $1.06 billion last year, to $981 million this year. Loss of revenue is trickier to track on a cab-by-cab basis, but the tabloid reports 9% less on average per cab, thanks to increased competition.
Jamil Ali, a 54-year-old taxi driver from Long Island, told the tabloid that a few years ago he used to take home $1,000 a week working multiple 12-hour shifts. Now, he says he takes home $800 or $900. He said of Uber's claim that it will create 10,000 new jobs in the coming year, "What about the people who are already doing this? There's more than enough drivers on the road right now.”
Uber, for its own part, has been quick to position itself as a savior for New Yorkers stranded in outer boroughs, where yellow cabs are less likely to stray (according to the 2014 Taxicab Fact Book, 94% of yellow cab pickups take place in Manhattan or at one of the city's airports). But even though 22% of Uber's 4.4 million rides between April and September last year reportedly originated outside of Manhattan—compared to 14% for green and yellow taxi pickups—63% originated south of 59th street, on par with 62% of taxi pickups.
Speaking on background, a TLC spokesman emphasized that while green cabs are not "grabbing headlines" these days, they are currently completing between 50,000 and 57,000 rides per day, on average. According to the News, green cab pickups are up 38% in the last 6 months. (As of June, Uber had 18,000 associated FHVs in NYC, compared to the city's 13,587 licensed yellow cabs and only 8,043 green cabs.)
Between late April and early June, the TLC seized just shy of 500 Uber cars for conducting illegal street pickups. At the time, Bhairavi Desai of the New York Taxiworkers Alliance, which represents both Uber and Taxi drivers, deemed the crackdown proof of an extremely competitive industry. “I think it’s honestly a reflection of the oversaturation of the vehicles, and the desperation everyone is feeling on the streets to earn a living,” she told the Post.