Turf wars are nothing new in New York City, but even the most vicious of Five Family fights might pale in comparison to the ongoing battle between Uber and NYC taxi drivers. But in this city, tradition is strong, and it’s working in favor of the famous yellow cab. According to a report from Morgan Stanley, the iconic method of transportation in the Big Apple still reigns supreme. In April of 2016, taxis registered 11.1 million trips in the city, which works out to about 400,000 trips a day. And while that represents a 9 percent year-over-year decline, it’s still more than double the number of trips Uber — its closest competitor — managed to log.
That said, it’s unclear how long the taxi coalition will be able to maintain its lead. Morgan Stanley reports that the 4.7 million rides Uber managed in April marked an impressive 121 percent increase over the past year. And if the yellow cab keeps declining at the same rate and Uber keeps increasing … well, you do the math.
However, the taxi industry’s saving grace may lie in its efficiency. Despite the fact that taxi drivers made twice as many trips as Uber drivers, the San Francisco startup dispatched about the same number of drivers per week. That means that cab drivers are actually doing twice as many rides as their competitors. Uber drivers made an average of 44 trips every week, whereas taxi drivers did about 91 trips per week. This, if nothing else, underscores how difficult it is to be a taxi driver in New York — many of whom must work long hours simply to cover the rental cost of their vehicle, much less make a profit.
The remainder of the transportation industry in New York City doesn’t really compare to the two dominant forces — though Lyft enjoyed an 871 percent increase in trips, it still logged only 750,000 rides in April, and comprised just 4 percent of the total trips in New York, while Uber accounts for around a third.
Needless to say, the battle for domination in the most populous city in the U.S. is far from over.
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