I got a sobering reminder today of just how fast Uber has spread, and its potential to erode ground transportation service because of unfair regulatory advantages.
As of today, Uber has a total of 7,105 vehicles registered in New York City, more than 34% of all NYC black car and luxury base vehicles, which total 20,897. Uber has increased from 300 to 700 vehicles per month in NYC during the last six months. A breakdown:
Black Car Bases
Base # 2598 Hinter: 2,443 units
Base # 2617 Weiter: 1,816 units
Base # 2682 Schmecken: 2,163 units
Total: 6,422 of 14,771 total black car vehicles
Base # 2512 Unter: 683 units (of 6,126 total luxury vehicles)
These numbers come as Uber protests and strikes sweep across major European cities today.
One longtime industry source in New York City tells me that the Uber drivers are being pulled from the ranks of black car chauffeurs. While the luxury limousine companies have lost minor volume compared to the black car services, they are having a harder time getting qualified chauffeurs to work for them. And if black car and taxicab services are shrinking, the luxury limousine segment is not immune.
The blame for these disparities mostly belongs with local and state governments that resist sensible deregulation solutions, cling to their distorted revenue streams via taxes and licensing fees, generally fail to to accurately understand new technologies, and lag behind enforcement needs. Taxis, limos, black cars and TNCs deserve a fair regulatory playing field based on consistent rules and enforcement. If government can't do that, then it needs to get out of the way. Meanwhile, the taxi and limo industries should fight the unfairness with every available legal, legislative, civil justice, and free speech tools available.
-- Martin Romjue, LCT editor
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