Uber, hit by driver shortages and an increase in food delivery requests during the pandemic, will list New York taxis on its app, a partnership that until recently would have been unthinkable, with the two sides fighting fiercely for the same customers.
After a period in which waits for an Uber ride lengthened due to a shortage of drivers, the partnership will increase the number of available rides and give New York taxi drivers access to a vast pool of commuters with an Uber app on their phones.
There had been hints that tensions between Uber and taxi services had begun to thaw as Uber aggressively expanded into the highly lucrative food delivery business and needed a growing number of drivers. -delivery men.
During the pandemic, Uber’s food deliveries overtook routes given to humans as millions sheltered in their homes. Gross bookings for delivery services at Uber reached $13.4 billion in the last quarter of 2021. This compares to $11.3 billion in gross bookings for Uber rides.
The deal announced Thursday comes as more cities prepare to regulate the explosive growth of Uber and other app-based ride services, including New York, which has imposed a temporary cap on new licenses for public transport services in 2018.
New York is the largest US market for Uber.
The New York City Workers Alliance (NYCWA), a group that represents taxi drivers and has criticized Uber and other ride-sharing apps, said it would push for negotiations.
“After its business model showed failure to protect drivers from declining ridership and rising gas prices, Uber is returning to its roots: yellow cabs,” chief executive Bhairavi Desai said on Thursday. NYCWA Executive, in a prepared statement.
The New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission said Thursday it is always interested in tools that can provide more economic opportunities for drivers.
“We’re excited about any proposal to more easily connect riders to taxis and look forward to learning more about this deal between Uber and taxi apps and making sure it complies with TLC rules,” said Ryan Wanttaja, Acting Commissioner.
An industry analyst who follows Uber closely went so far as to call the marriage of longtime competitors “pure genius.” Uber lacked drivers in New York and taxi drivers lacked activity due to the popularity of ride-sharing apps.
“I think they realized they both needed each other in the short term,” said Bill Selesky, principal analyst for Argus Research.
Uber Technologies Inc. has onboarded taxi drivers from around the world into its system over the past few years. In Spain, the company has incorporated taxis in Madrid, Malaga, Valencia and Barcelona. It teams up in Colombia with TaxExpress, which has more than 2,300 active drivers. Half of all Uber taxi rides in Latin America come from the TaxExpress partnership in Colombia. Uber also has relationships with taxi software and fleet operators in Austria, Germany, Turkey, South Korea and Hong Kong.
In New York, Uber is partnering with technology platforms Creative Mobile Technologies and Curb to make all New York taxis available on its app.
Anyone with the Uber app will have access to thousands of yellow cabs that operate on the CMT/Arro platform. Taxi drivers will see Uber-generated fares on their driver monitors that they already use to process Arro taxi app e-hails.
“Uber has a long history of partnering with the taxi industry to provide drivers with more ways to earn money and passengers with another transportation option. Our partnerships with taxis are different around the world, and we are excited to partner with taxi software companies CMT and Curb, which will benefit taxi drivers and all New Yorkers,” said Andrew Macdonald, senior vice president, Mobility and Business Operations, Uber. said in a prepared statement.
Creative Mobile Technologies said Thursday that taxi drivers on its platform, which includes the Arro taxi app, will have access to Uber’s customer base, giving them the ability to increase ride volume and grow their income.
Creative Mobile said a beta version for taxis will roll out this spring and reach the general public this summer.
Curb, which offers a ride-sharing app for licensed taxis and rental rides in North America, said the new deal with Uber will start in New York, but the partnership will expand to its nationwide network over the next few years. coming months.
Drivers on the Curb platform will be able to receive and accept Uber travel offers through their existing in-vehicle systems, in addition to the Curb app request and traditional street calls.
This story was reported by the Associated Press. Karen Matthews in New York and Tom Krisher in Detroit contributed to this story.