New York City’s storied yellow cabs are taking a back seat to black cars.
Uber cars, often black sedans that can be summoned with smartphone apps, now outnumber the yellow taxis that city riders have hailed with a whistle and a wave for generations.
It was a changing-of-the-guard moment that passed with little fanfare this week in figures released by the city’s Taxi and Limousine Commission: 14,088 registered Uber cars compared with 13,587 yellow cabs.
But it hardly means yellow cabs are out of favor. In fact, there are about 440,000 yellow cab rides a day, compared to just 20,000 to 30,000 Uber rides. That’s because Uber drivers often own their own cars and work less than 40 hours a week, while most yellow taxis are owned by cab companies, have more than one driver and are on the road close to 24 hours a day.
“Yellow cab rides significantly outstrip the number of black car rides,” said Meera Joshi, chairwoman of the taxi commission. “So the number of their affiliated vehicles in and of itself doesn’t paint a complete picture.”
Uber was introduced in New York City in 2011 and has grown steadily in popularity, particularly among tech-savvy customers who are comfortable hailing rides through an app that shows when a car is on the way. A customer can even follow its progress with a blip on a street map. Similar companies such as Lyft use apps to connect with riders.
Read more at Inc.