The Big Apple's most iconic type of vehicle is on its way to becoming an endangered species. Uber-affiliated cars now outnumber taxi cabs by more than three to one, according to a New York Times analysis of New York City data.
Overall, there are more than 60,000 so-called "black cars"—NYC-speak for a for-hire vehicle that must be summoned by some sort of dispatcher or app—roaming the streets of the five boroughs, according to city data. Uber vehicles make up the largest percentage of that, with around 46,000 of those. There are just 13,687 yellow cabs in the city.
"Ride-hailing apps have gained a huge market share in a short period of time," Evan Rawley, associate professor of management at the Columbia Business School, told the Times. "They have expanded the market, but also stolen share from taxicabs."
Indeed, city data seems to bear that assertion out. Taxis made an average of 336,737 trips per day in November 2016—a 27 percent drop from six years earlier, when yellow cabs averaged 463,701 journeys a day.
In contrast, ride-hailing services in the city racked up roughly 311,000 average daily trips during a similar period. Uber-affiliated cars alone averaged 226,046 trips per day last October; Lyft-affilated vehicles averaged 35,908 daily rides that same month, according to city data. Ride-hailing service Via racked up an average of 21,698 trips per day, while upstart service Juno rang in 20,426, and VW-backed Gett averaged 7,227.
The value of tax medallions, which give drivers the right to drive a yellow cab in the city, has taken a precipitous dive since Uber and its ilk arrived. At the peak of their value in 2014, just before ride-hailing services began to arrive on the scene, an NYC taxi medallion was worth around $1.3 million; today, they are listed for as little as $250,000.
In the face of this futuristic threat, at least some of New York's taxi industry is hoping to stick around through nostalgia power. "Uber is the same everywhere — there is nothing ‘New York’ about them — kind of like McDonald’s or Starbucks," Metropolitan Taxicab Board of Trade spokesperson Michael Woloz told the Times. "But yellow taxis are unique to New York City and, while maybe a little retro, they are as vital and soulful as ever.”