Uber and Lyft have been squeezing yellow cabs ever since they launched their on-demand car services. But the political shtick that startups are the underdog against "big taxi" is becoming a lie: according to San Francisco's taxi boss, the city's cabs have seen average trips decline by 65 percent in just over two years.
[SFMTA's interim Taxis and Accessible Services director Kate Toran] plans to discuss the downward trend in average trips per taxicab from 1,424 per month in March 2012 to 504 this past July.
"There's been a real reduction [in taxi usage], but obviously this doesn't tell the whole story," she said. "Part of the story is we don't have hard data yet from the [transportation network companies'] side to really analyze the full impact on the streets and our air quality."
Transportation network companies, unlike cabs, are not required to accommodate wheelchairs. Total wheelchair pickups by wheelchair-accessible taxis dropped from 1,378 per month in March 2013 to 768 per month this past July because it was difficult to get drivers to commit to the program that takes more time and money.
"The ramp taxi program is just a vulnerable program in the taxi program overall because it costs more to operate, maintain and it costs more in gas for the drivers," Toran said.