• Wed. Sep 21st, 2022

Uber teams up with yellow cabs, leaving taxi drivers with questions

ByElla E. Kidwell

Mar 24, 2022

Yellow cab drivers are expressing concern after Uber announced a partnership that will soon list New York taxis as an option in the popular app.

On Thursday, a pairing was announced between Uber and New York’s Taxi & Limousine Commission (TLC) that CBS says will give the city’s thousands of drivers access to more potential customers. However, the leader of a union representing the city’s taxi drivers wonders what will affect the drivers.

Bhairavi Desai, executive director of the New York Taxi Workers Alliance, raised questions about driver compensation in a recent interview.

The Uber logo in London, England, on March 17, 2021. The company and the New York Taxi and Limousine Commission announced a partnership on Thursday that raises questions about how it will affect taxi drivers.
Hollie Adams/Getty Images

“Is that good news or bad news? It all depends on the payout structure. Right now, we don’t see a payout structure designed for the benefit of drivers,” she told Gothamist.

The head of the union, which represents thousands of drivers, spoke of the cost to drivers. She says those who drive taxis face more expenses than those who just drive for Uber or another ride-sharing company. She told Gothamist that she thinks drivers should be protected from Uber’s payment plan.

When taxis start appearing on the Uber app in New York, according to Gothamist, drivers who decide to take a ride through the Uber app “will be paid using the same formula that Uber drivers receive with a minimum fare of time and distance set by the TLC.”

Additionally, Desai wants drivers to be protected from “turn-offs,” which people employed by ride-sharing companies can experience when the supply is too large.

The Uber app will be integrated with software used by the TLC—Curb Mobility and Creative Mobile Technologies (CMT)—that will allow taxis to fill up on the app, giving Uber customers more options for rides.

Ryan Wanttaja, Acting Commissioner of TLC, mentioned in a response to Newsweek that they are delighted with this opportunity.

“We are always interested in innovative tools that can expand economic opportunities for taxi drivers. We welcome any proposals to more easily connect passengers to taxis and look forward to hearing more about this agreement between Uber and taxi apps and to make sure it complies with TLC rules,” Wanttaja said.

Regarding the announced partnership, Andrew Macdonald, Senior Vice President of Mobility and Business Operations at Uber, in response to Newsweek mentioned that the move will help taxi drivers as well as residents of the Big Apple.

“Uber has a long history of partnering with the taxi industry to provide drivers with more ways to earn money and passengers with another transportation option. Our partnerships with taxis are different around the world, and we are excited to partner with taxi software companies CMT and Curb, which will benefit taxi drivers and all New Yorkers,” said Macdonald.

The ride-sharing company said it has many similar partnerships in places like Spain, Germany, Turkey and South Korea.

Uber said nearly 100% of taxis in the city will be available on the app later this spring.

It comes after some Uber and Lyft drivers reportedly pulled out of the ridesharing game due to the recent spike in gas prices. Others, in response to gas prices, simply decide to drive less, avoid long trips, or only drive when the Uber app offers promotions.