The rise of ride-sharing affects taxi drivers in Tallahassee

Ride-sharing companies like Uber and Lyft offer convenience and affordability to patrons but at what cost to taxi companies?  
Photo Courtesy of Google Images.

Whether you are out on the town or relaxing in your home Tallahassee has a few ridesharing options for you. The number of ride-sharing options has doubled in the years and has led to the decrease in taxi options.

Ride-sharing is when a passenger arranges to travel in a private vehicle by its owner for a fee. In recent years, the popularity of ride-sharing has noticeably increased in Tallahassee. Ridesharing is also becoming a competitive business with the two major competitors being Uber and Lyft.

Due to its popularity, taxis have taken a substantial hit due to the increase of ride-sharing apps according to Larry Butler, Tallahassee taxi driver.

“In earlier years I had people calling for taxis, standing waiting for a taxi or making appointments to be picked up,” Butler said. “In the new day everyone just wants to call an Uber from their phones. The rides-haring business is hitting us bad.”

 Ride-sharing options have appealed to consumers because of the convenience. Riders no longer have to call or stand on the side of the street for a ride they have to pleasure of simply calling a ride in a matter of seconds thanks to ride-sharing options.

You just request a ride, get matched with local drivers and secure a ride at the tap of a button. Just request and go. After the ride, simply pay through the app. 

The prices are also a boost for consumers like Jasmine Brown. Utilizing Uber and Lyft, Brown enjoys the pricing and convenience. 

“I choose Uber or Lyft over a taxi because these services offer a picture and reviews from other riders. With taxis you don't get that,” Brown said. “Also, Uber and Lyft are more convenient than calling a taxi. I do not have a preference over Uber or Lyft, most of the time I go by whichever is cheaper.”

Uber was introduced to Tallahassee in August 2014 and is one of the most popular apps. Lyft, while not as big as Uber, has had to put up some substantial numbers in its four years of existence. The company was introduced to Tallahassee in March 2017.

The major universities in the city made a great market for the companies to offer their service. Students use the service to get to class, grab a few groceries or to simply visit a friend.

David White drives for both Uber and Lyft. He said many of his clientele are college students.

“The experience between [the companies] is about the same. 90 percent of what I do is driving around drunk college kids,” White said. “It gets old after a while but I do commend them for not drinking and driving.”

As a result of demand, both Uber and Lyft have hired more drivers. According to Business of Apps, in 2017 the total number of Uber drivers worldwide passed 1.5 million with Lyft at 700,000 drivers.

Ride-sharing has also created jobs in Tallahassee, which leads to financial growth in the community.  Greater Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce vice president Jay Revell said the ride-sharing companies are adding to the revenue for the city of Tallahassee.

“We are always looking for companies wanting to participate in the business community through the Chamber of Commerce,” Revell said. “So, we’ve been excited to have some of those ride-sharing companies join the commerce in recent years.”

Overall, only time will tell how much more ridesharing will affect the taxi business. As it stands, the convenience of ride-sharing has made requesting a taxi seem like a thing of the past.