Black overtakes yellow in New York taxi wars

In the world of New York taxi services, has black become the new yellow? The app, Uber, has now stolen a march in the Big Apple taxi wars by overtaking the long-established yellow-cab industry in the number of cars on the city streets.

Yellow taxis are being threatened by the arrival of Uber's black cars on the city streets

Yellow taxis are being threatened by the arrival of Uber's black cars on the New York city streets. Image by Chris Isherwood / CC BY 2.0

And what’s remarkable is that Uber have achieved that level of penetration in less than four years operating in the city, according to latest Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) data.

Uber has over 14,000 black and luxury cars affiliated with it operating across the five boroughs, while its rival had less than 13,600.

The New York Post has reported that Uber’s entrance to the industry came in 2011 and almost immediately both its competitive rates and higher pay structure lured customers and drivers away from traditional services.

Uber driver Joel Abreu, 24, from the Bronx, explained his preference as a driver by saying: “You just turn on your phone and you’re working.”

He claimed to make about $85,000 a year after allowing for his expenses in driving a luxury SUV for the company. This is about twice the wage than a yellow-cab driver can hope to earn.

However yellow cabs still make as much as 10 times more trips than Uber cars in the city and some long-term cabbies say they have no plans to switch.

Critics of the app emphasises how Uber siphons off revenue from the city because it doesn’t give tax revenue through medallion sales.

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