17 May 2016

Todd W. Schneider: “Taxi, Uber, and Lyft Usage in New York City”

A study by Jonathan Hall and Alan Krueger reported that 42% of UberX drivers in New York work fewer than 15 hours per week, while another 35% work 16–34 hours per week. If those numbers are true, then a very rough guess might be that about half of those 25,000 vehicles make at least one pickup on any given day.

Yellow taxi utilization rates are much higher: the TLC statistics report that the average medallion is active 29 days per month, 14 hours per day (note that multiple drivers can share a medallion).

Todd Schneider

Interesting data about the competition between classic taxis and ride-sharing in New York. Some remarks based on the graphs in the article:

  • Although the number of trips provided by yellow taxis is in decline and Uber is on the rise, the total number of rides is more or less unchanged across the years – in January 2016 for example there were some 10,000 more trips per day compared to a year before, an insignificant increase (2%) compared to the total number of about 520,000 trips per day in New York. While the sample looks at a single city, in this case Uber’s narrative that it will ‘significantly expand the market’ for transportation services doesn’t really hold out.
  • The inefficiency of the ridesharing alternative is also striking: the combined fleet of Uber and Lyft had about 32,400 vehicles compared to 13,300 yellow cabs (2.4 times more), but it served only 165,000 trips per day compared to 352,000 trips by yellow cabs (2.1 times less). So overall a New York yellow cab is around 5 times more efficient in terms of car utilization. In the long run, it would therefore be preferable to expand the fleet of yellow cabs to cover demand instead of bringing more and more cars into car-sharing.
New York City Daily TripsNew York City Unique Vehicles Dispatched
The summary data from Open TLC includes the number of trips taken by yellow taxis and for-hire vehicles and the total number of vehicles dispatched by each service

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