Uber, Lyft ridership falls 15% in NYC, taxi cab trips rise


The number of Uber and Lyft rides in New York City have declined 15 percent over the past few months — while yellow cabs picked up 5 percent more fares, reversing a longtime trend.

New Yorkers took an average of 498,641 Uber/Lyft daily rides in June, but by September that figure slid to 432,581, Taxi & Limousine Commission data shows.

Meanwhile, yellow taxi trips rose from 94,130 per day in June to 98,724 over the same months.

New Yorkers once took about half a million taxi trips per day — until 2014, when Uber and Lyft began to eat away at taxi ridership.

Uber and Lyft executives have admitted that riders face higher fares and longer wait times than they’re used to — at least in part due to a shortage of drivers.

Yellow taxis, on the other hand, are not subject to mercurial “surge pricing.”

A general view of a NYC yellow taxi and a NYC green taxi in New York, NY on June 22, 2019.
Yellow taxi cabs have seen a slight increase in ridership since this summer.
Christopher Sadowski
A traveler waits for their Uber to arrive.
Uber’s ride sharing service has been dominant in New York City since 2014.

In New York, “demand continues to outpace supply and prices and wait times remain above our comfort levels,” Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said on the company’s most recent earnings call.

Lyft faces driver shortages as well, CFO Brian Roberts said on its most recent earnings call — in part due to federal pandemic unemployment benefits.

A general view of a woman hailing a taxi in New York, NY on September 28, 2018.
Uber and Lyft executives argue that yellow taxi cabs are not dealing with driver shortages or surge pricing.
Christopher Sadowski

“To date, riders have been relatively patient with a less-than-ideal prices and service levels since they are faced industry-wide,” he told Wall Street analysts.

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