No Fare! Is Uber Helping Crush LA’s Taxi Business?

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) A new study suggests Uber and other ride-share companies are killing the taxi industry in Los Angeles.

As KCAL9’s Erica Nochlin reports, the numbers prove it.

Mike Fitzpatrick is literally steps from a taxi zone just off Hollywood Boulevard.

He’s in front of the Roosevelt Hotel — and he’s staying right there instead of calling the taxi over.

Instead, he’s calling Uber.

“Cabs are bit like newspapers, they’re a bit last century,” Fitzpatrick says.

Nochlin was told pretty much the same thing — time and time again.

“Which service do you prefer?,” she asked.

“Definitely Uber over taxis,” said one man.

“Uber. All the way,” said one woman.

The latest city report compares 2012 — before Uber and Lyft came along — with 2015.

She asked one woman when was the last time she took a taxi.

“Probably about three years ago,” she said.

The city report found a nearly 30 percent decrease in LA taxicab trips overall. From downtown and Hollywood there was a 44 percent drop.

The only positive sign for cabs in the report? At LAX there was a 45 percent increase in taxi rides.

But even that was before Lyft and Uber came along and got clearances to pick up passengers at airports.

The city is encouraging cab companies to become more technology friendly – trying to level out the playing field. Some cab companies are using apps like Curb – where you can request a ride, and in some cases, pay in the app.

Former taxi riders said it was more about the convenience of paying that led to them Uber and services like it.

“Lyft feels safer to me,” said one woman.

And Fitzpatrick said it has nothing to do with cost — it was all about service.

“Number one, it’s cheaper. Number two, it’s cleaner. Number three I feel safer,” said one woman.

Cab companies insist their drivers are screened more thoroughly than Uber drivers.

She found one man getting out of a taxi and he told her, only because “there were no Ubers available.”

Some people still don’t mind going old-school.

“I’m still kind of old school, with, putting your hand out, and finding a taxi,” said one man.

His girlfriend, meanwhile, is all about the technology.

“Uber. It’s just easier,” she said.

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