After nearly killing the New York taxi business, Uber is now exploring the possibility of sending yellow cabs, according to documents reviewed by The Post.
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The executive lobbied Taxi & Limousine Commission chief Aloysee Heredia Jarmoszuk on the “potential” of the idea, according to a city lobbying disclosure in September.
The executive, Josh Gold, is an ally of Mayor de Blasio and a former lobbyist for the well-connected Hotel Trades Council.
No details of his discussion with Jarmoszuk were provided in the file. Gold, director of public policy and communications at Uber, declined to comment.
New Yorkers made about half a million yellow cab rides a day, until 2014, when Uber and Lyft started having lunch. Today, New Yorkers take just under 100,000 a day.
Thanks to TLC’s âE-Hailâ program, app users could potentially see yellow cabs as another option alongside the basic âUberXâ.
In a quarterly earnings conference call Thursday with Wall Street analysts, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said the company, as it grows, would still need to recruit more drivers.
“I think we will never have enough pilots,” he said.
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Daily ridership in the city has been down double-digit in recent months, according to TLC data, likely due to the driver shortage. Low supply and high demand mean skyrocketing fares – and thousands of daily riders have abandoned apps for yellow cabs, according to data from TLC.
For example, New Yorkers taking Uber or Lyft to JFK Airport have complained about fares well over $ 100. Yellow cabs have a flat rate of $ 52 to or from Manhattan and JFK. The intra-borough rides on the meter are sometimes only half of an Uber or Lyft ride when the prices for app-based rides “skyrocket”.
New York Taxi Workers Alliance leader Bhairavi Desai told the Post that her 25,000-member union, which includes Uber and Lyft drivers, “would remain open-minded” to the idea of ââhacking by Uber.
Financial data for the potential arrangement is unknown, including whether the app would get a portion of the cab rides it ships. Desai said Uber’s usual 25% commission for drivers would not work, given the costs of operating a traditional taxi.
âI think they want to replace their volume,â she said. “Especially at a time when a lot of pilots are not coming back.”
New Yorkers could arrange yellow cab rides through Uber, formerly known as Ubercab, in 2013. Desai believes Uber ditched yellow cabs once enough of its cars were on the road.
âOur thing is, you have to protect the full-time job. Whether it’s yellow cab drivers or Uber and Lyft drivers, we want the standards lifted for all drivers, âshe told The Post on Wednesday night outside city hall, where a hunger strike by taxi drivers had just ended.
A representative from TLC sent the following statement: âAs a regulatory agency, TLC meets frequently with all of its licensees to discuss ideas, individually and particularly at our monthly meeting of the Working Group on taxis. In strengthening the taxi industry, we are currently focusing on implementing the relief program improvements announced earlier this week, alongside the Mayor, Senator [Chuck] Schumer, Marblegate and NYTWA to settle the medallion debt.
This article first appeared on NYPost.com