Uber and other ride-sharing companies are making it difficult for taxi drivers to make enough money. Chicago drivers are struggling and are working more than they did before to compensate for a decline in the number of customers that they shuttle around the city, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Fewer rules for ride-sharing companies
One such taxi driver is Manuel Rosales, who used to take six days off, but now takes off only three days a month. Speaking to Chicago Tribune, the 42-year old cab driver said they “struggling.” Industry experts and cab drivers say the entry of ride-sharing companies such as Lyft and Uber, which entered the Chicago market in 2013 and operate under fewer regulations than taxis has caused the Chicago cab industry to hit the skids.
According to city data, in Chicago, the total number of licensed cab drivers is nearly 9,500 – the lowest in a decade. The average value of a taxi medallion required to operate a tax has dropped to about $66,000 this year from a peak of $349,000 in 2013. The number of drivers entering the taxi industry has slowed to close to 300 this year, down from 1,350 in 2014 and 770 last year, notes Chicago Tribune.
Tracey Abman, associate director at AFSCME Council 31, said, “The industry is really in great distress.”
Abman, who works with the Cab Drivers United union, says that ride-sharing companies are not hindered by the strict city oversight that taxi drivers have to endure.
“This is a result of the unlevel playing field that ride-share transportation has created,” she said.
Lyft and Uber to blame
Ride-sharing companies like Lyft and Uber are affecting other regions too. According to Nevada Taxicab Authority officials, about 1.6 million cab trips were logged last month, a 19.2% drop in comparison to November 2015.
About 21.6 million taxi trips were reported during the first 11 months of 2016. Compared to the same period last year, it’s an overall decline of more than 4.2 million, says the Review Journal. Over 16 certified taxicab companies in the region reported a combined $347.2 million in revenue through October, which is a 13% drop from the same period last year.
Stan Olsen, chairman of the agency regulating Southern Nevada’s taxicab industry, said the declines in local taxicab ridership are attributed to the surging popularity of Lyft and Uber.
“Fees and operating licenses are not being regulated in a fair and equitable manner between taxi and transportation network companies, and I am a big believer in playing fair,” Olsen said.