September 26, 2014

Taxi Crash: The Impact of Uber in San Francisco

Jimbo references this article in The Atlantic in a post below – worthy of bringing to the foreground: After Uber, San Francisco Has Seen a 65-Percent Decline in Cab Use



The precipitous rise of services like Uber (and its fellow shared-ride services, like Lyft and Sidecar) has meant—markets being what they are—a precipitous decline in taxi rides taken across the city.

… the director of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency gave a presentation to the organization’s board of directors. It was titled “Taxis and Accessible Services Division: Status of Taxi Industry,” though it may as well have been titled “How the Taxi Industry Is Doing Now That Uber Is a Thing.”  …”Part of the story,” Toran noted, “is we don’t have hard data yet from the [transportation network companies’] side to really analyze the full impact on the streets and our air quality.”

And this is the early stages.  Lots more disruption to come.

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  1. Anything that undermines, and hopefully destroys, the cartel controlling taxi licensing in Metro Vancouver is OK by me. Bring on some competition and choice for the public!

  2. Someone came along and did it better. No one is taking the jobs offshore OR getting a machine to do a person’s job. Someone just showed consumers there is a better way to do something and a better way for us to spend our money. Damn straight. Either adapt or collapse.

    1. The Economist Joseph Schumpeter called it “the creative destruction of capitalism”. A catchy oxymoron.
      And Uber gets economists’ hearts aflutter. A new technology busting a government granted oligarchy. Reducing transaction costs and risks to allow the market mechanism into a previously closed realm – rides in private vehicles. The power of decentralized decision making and markets to generate efficiency. Uber is an example of these things.
      There’s something beautiful when markets work. Millions of individuals making self-interested, private decisions that lead to an outcome good for the individual and for society. No need for an omniscient, omnipotent, omnibenevolent social planner to dictate efficiency from on high – simply the private, selfish decisions of the market participants. It’s almost magic. And we should let the magic happen with Uber.

  3. What if the taxi system were treated like any other mass transit system?
    That is taxi operations could be subsidized with tax rebates or tax credits allowing fares to fall to levels with appeal to a broad customer base. Growing ridership would allow the fleet to expand with green machines running 24 x 7 and available everywhere. This would be a good application of technology, a good utilization of human and material resources, with the potential to improve the livelihoods of professional drivers.