Uber vs. Taxis: Round 2 in the Big Apple


On Monday I passed along some news about a study of cost and wait times for Uber vs. taxis in low-income neighborhoods in Los Angeles. In a nutshell, Uber was both cheaper and faster. Now, the same folks who did the LA study have done a quickie follow-up in the New York City boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens. It’s based on a very small sample—so treat it with caution—but it found that although Uber was no cheaper than New York cabs, the wait time for a car was significantly less. Plus this:

Observations in which the taxi company refused to send a driver speak to the unreliability of dispatch taxi service in lower-income and geographically dispersed community districts of New York City. Of the total number of attempted dispatch taxi rides, the company was unable to send a driver within 30 minutes 38% of the time. Although it is possible these specific taxi companies did not serve the boroughs of Brooklyn or Queens except when dropping off or picking up a rider from the airport, this lack of clear information contributes to the difficulty riders new to the city generally or merely a particular part of the city face when attempting to travel around the city via car service.

The full report is here. As with the LA report, it was funded by Uber.

It’s worth noting—though it should be obvious—that nothing in this report addresses various other concerns about Uber: pay and working conditions for drivers, regulatory compliance, privacy issues, etc. It’s just data about one specific thing: how Uber compares to cabs on the metrics of price and convenience.