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Saturday, December 28, 2013

How ride-sharing services won't impact the taxi business

Cab in San Francisco
image rights reserved to owner - see link to view owner
Taxi drivers are furious to see the Pink mustache affixed on the front of a Lyft ride. Their perception is that Lyft is causing their industry to lose revenue. The truth is that taxi drivers are blinded by this mere perception that ride-sharing is stealing their business; they are responsible for creating this ride-sharing demand and can also reap the benefits.

Many ride-sharing users have complained that taxi drivers are no-shows at their residence in the Sunset and Richmond districts. Taxis may gauge riders to determine their destinations - whether it makes sense to drive to a low demand area without possibly making a fare on the return trip.

Another concern from ride-sharing riders is that a taxi driver will take too long to pick them up. They call the taxi again and gain. Eventually, the passenger figures out their taxi picked up another group of passengers rather than make a trip to retrieve them.

One passenger claimed a taxi driver asked if he could join her. This occurred in another East Coast city; however, this passenger was creeped out by this taxi driver. There is accountability in using ride-sharing services because the ride-sharing app can track who drove the passengers. If passengers didn't take down a license number and paid cash for their fare, then there is no ideal way to track a taxi driver to report their behavior.

Taxi drivers have attempted to back into ride-sharing vehicles. Why would they do this? Possibly there motivate is to show that ride-sharing company drivers are unprofessional and should not be on the city streets. Moreover, taxi drivers give ride-sharing drivers dirty looks as so to say I dislike you and don't cross my path.

Taxi companies overcharge their riders. The cost to travel from the Presidio to North Beach in San Francisco is $22 with a taxi. However, a ride-sharing company such as SideCar may only charge $15. There is a difference in cost. For the most part, everyday business riders choose to save money. Nevertheless, ride-sharing makes their trip home much more enjoyable.

Taxi drivers are not too social. We all know this is why some people choose to take a taxi. If a rider wants to talk, ride-sharing is a good alternative. Ride-sharing drivers are social, friendly and are also extremely intelligent since ride-sharing is mostly a secondary form of employment for them. Taxi drivers make some rides unbearable, especially when the rides start with conflict.

With all of these concerns, taxi drivers can still make good money. There is no way for all taxi drivers to handle the ride demand in San Francisco. Too many people need rides. Ride-sharing is designed to give tech savvy people an alternative to taxi services. Therefore, a rider can track their driver on the app to ensure this individual is going to be reliable.

If the taxi industry develop an app, this wouldn't solve the social, cost, and convenience issues. People choose to use ride-sharing services. On the opposing, many people enjoy taking taxis when they are available to hail. Safeway is not complaining when another supermarket opens across the street. There is plenty of business to go around. No matter how many ride-sharing vehicles are on the road, there is never enough supply to handle the demand.

People need rides. They enjoy going out to dinner, club hopping, bar drinking and going on scenic rides. Riders use ride-sharing services and taxi cabs for a number of reasons. The main reason riders are unhappy with taxi drivers is because they judge them based on their destination. Richmond and Sunset riders find that taxis are unwilling to scoop them up and or to make a trip to these locations. Whereas we may see taxis driving in these districts, we can honestly say these are some honest and cool taxi drivers.

Ride-sharing drivers take a loss to travel into outer districts. These pick-ups are more costly since the driver must drive from further out to retrieve a passenger. If a request comes from Church Street near the Castro District, the driver may have to drive from the Sunset. This involves going into Twin Peaks and down the Market Street and into the Castro. It can take 20 minutes to pick up a rider that may only make the driver $6.40 after fees.

Should this type of business upset taxi drivers? Taxi drivers should be thankful there is another alternative. People are not as frustrated with taxis. They appreciate hailing a cab and getting home safely. Taxi drivers are trained professionals who know how to perform their job. It is their profession to drive passengers and to do this safely.

There are some riders who claimed taxi drivers are so good with navigation that they may take longer routes to increase the fare. However, most taxis use Franklin and Gough to transport their riders, which are the two most efficient streets traveling East to West and vice versa. It appears that mostly all cabs are full of riders. Many drunk passengers hail taxis on Valencia and near other busy streets.

Ride-sharing balances out the ride demand. Taxi drivers have nothing to worry about. Loyal users of both services choose to take rides based on accessibility. If a taxi is nearby, the rider will hail them. However, a person who needs a reliable ride to the airport may choose ride-sharing.

If a rider took BART from Oakland down to Market Street, they may request a ride-sharing driver to take them home in the Sunset. A Greyhound bus user may request a driver to take them to San Francisco State University. In the bar scene, riders need a quick ride home. Taxi drivers make themselves accessible to these riders. There is obviously a form of celebrity involved with hailing a cab to provide driving service. Uber, SideCar, Lyft and taxis all provide unique services. Whatever riders choose to take, there is never enough supply to serve the ride demand.

Furthermore, there are people who are thrilled with contributing to the sharing economy. There is innovation involved, as this is what probably drove Blockbuster and Hollywood Video into the financial straits. In essence, the taxi industry is safe and can continue to drive people around and make their income. Ride-sharing and taxi companies drive the local transit industry.

Taxi drivers and companies should stop harassing ride-sharing companies. Unless taxi companies can show financial records to support their claims that ride-sharing companies are adversely impacting their revenue, then just drive safely and have fun in the city!