An analysis published by New York-based data scientist Todd Schneider shows rides in Taxis and For-Hire Vehicles (FHVs) dropped precipitously when Covid-19 hit and picked up when the city reopened. While High-Volume FHV (HVFHV) rides – from companies like Uber and Lyft – began growing in March of 2021, the rate of growth for Taxis outpaced them, the findings showed.
“We’re seeing opportunities for profits for taxicab drivers that we haven’t seen in a while,” said DePaul transportation expert Joe Schwiterman, who cites HVFHV surge pricing and the growth of competing taxi apps. “Taxi cabs are positioned to sort of elbow their way into a market that’s been tough the last decade.”
Both segments are experiencing a driver shortage, which leads to longer wait times for app-based rides. The shortage also means Taxis are often less expensive, as HVFHV surge pricing drives up rates when more people are seeking out rides.
“We are certainly seeing an increase in demand from passengers and drivers,” said Aloysee Heredia Jarmoszuk, commissioner and chairperson of the New York City Taxi & Limousine Commission (TLC). “Taxis make between 15 and 22 trips per shift now. Before Covid, due to market saturation, some shifts only took 11 trips.”
The pandemic forced many drivers, already in a difficult situation, to stop working, leading to a decrease in the number of taxis on city streets – but they’re returning.
“Today, about half of the fleet is in service”, which means around 100,000 vehicles, according to Allan Fromberg, TLC spokesperson. “Every week, as the demand for passengers increases, more and more taxis are in service.”
Travel has grown 48% in the past three months and taxis are “capturing more market share today than before the pandemic,” Fromberg explained.