Uber Cars Now Outnumber Yellow Cabs in NYC

The ride-hailing app completed the next step on its path to eliminate drivers.

Kari Paul

Kari Paul

​Image: ​Nicola Romagna/Flickr

​There are now more Uber cars than traditional yellow cabs in New York City, according to new figures from the Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC), the regulatory body for the taxi industry in New York.

According to the NY Post, Uber now has 14,088 black and luxury cars across New York City, compared to 13,587 yellow cabs, numbers a TLC spokesperson confirmed to Motherboard by email. Some yellow cab drivers also use UberT, a service that allows users to electronically hail a medallion cab.

The new numbers mark the latest success in Uber's quest for world domination. Uber CEO Travis Kalanick has said in the past the company's end goal is to sway users from car ownership and take more cars off the road. In December, the company launched a pricing scheme in New York in an apparent effort to nudge customers away from yellow cabs.

According to the Post, drivers cited the convenience of Uber and its guaranteed payment system, meaning passengers can't skip fares, for switching to the service. As one driver recently told me, the cut Uber takes from his fares is worth it because the service eliminates the risk of driving around without finding anyone to pick up. In 2014, Uber claimed the median income for a New York City driver was $90,000, a number that was widely debated. One Uber driver told the Post he makes $85,000 a year driving an SUV for the company. The typical cab driver's salary is around $30,000.

Meanwhile, Uber's day was not going as well in Europe, where police raided its Paris offices in an apparent investigation into UberPop, its service that connects customers with unlicensed drivers. Its services were also banned for a second time in Germany.

It took more than a year of haggling with the TLC before Uber could get up and running in New York City, and the company has experienced some regulatory hiccups since then. But if the new numbers are any indication, the company appears to be winning the battle for now.

Update: According to a statement from TLC Commissioner Meera Joshi, the numbers reported reflect licensees at all five of Uber's black car bases. An Uber driver-partner study published in January showed 42 percent of drivers registered with Uber in New York work only 1-15 hours per week, which helps explain why you tend to see more yellow cabs than Uber cars in the city.

"Yellow cab rides significantly outstrip the number of black car rides, including those dispatched by Uber, so the number of their affiliated vehicles in and of itself doesn't paint a complete picture," Joshi said. "In order to get a truer sense of what is and is not being provided to the public, we must consider the differences in requirements between taxis and for-hire vehicle services when it comes to contributing resources to enhancing accessibility and our broader transportation infrastructure. These are areas we are looking at closely as this part of our system evolves."