Thursday, April 25, 2013

More Cabs, Hotels & Illegal Taxis

A doorman at the Marriot Marquis came up to me after the MTA Board voted to add the 120 plus taxis and rhetorically asked how they could put out more cabs without busting Lyft, Sidecar and Uber?

I thought it was an interesting question for a number of reasons - not the least being the source. If there is a hotel that could justly complain about the cab service, it would be that Marriot. It's at the end of the Union Square hotel row, the traffic is bad at the best of times and it is currently impossible to get to directly from the Square.

Yet, here is a doorman with a opinion that echos what I told he MTA Board. "You shouldn't put out more cabs unless the bogus rideshares are driven out of business."

This helps underline what I think are the weakest parts of the Hara report: the sections on the hotels and the ridesharing.

But before doing so I have to confess that I've partially changed my mind. The major themes of the report seem correct. There are too few taxis in San Francisco compared to some other cities and more people in the neighborhoods would take cabs if they could be sure of getting one. Almost everybody who gets in my taxi tells me this. If the city and state would eliminate the illegal vehicles, we could use some more cabs. Putting out 120 more now (an increase of less than 1%) - especially if the taxis go to people on the list - won't kill the business and will finally reward a few drivers for their devotion to the transportation business and their patience. And, if the fake cabs are zapped, we could use the additional taxies.

On the other hand, if the "fake rideshares" are left untouched, people should still be able to recoup their $125,000 investment. Friday and Saturday nights will still be Friday and Saturday nights.

More tomorrow. I have to try out my new running shoes then do to work.


  1. Crocker 1% of 1000 would be 10 cabs
    180 of 1800 is 10%

    We will all make 10 % less


  2. Hi Mark,

    You are right about the math. I must have been sober the day I did the calculations. Sorry.

    It's to be 150 cabs added right now not 180. I thought there were on 1720 cabs on the street these days? Anyway that would equal 8% or 9%.

    I'm not sure that this directly equates to making 9% less.


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