Study Suggests Competition From Uber May Curb Cabbie Rudeness

Posted On Fri, January 15, 2016 By

Posted On Fri, January 15, 2016 By In City Living, Transportation

Is the rise of car share services like Uber and Lyft making taxi drivers nicer? The Washington Post reports that according to research presented this week by the Technology Policy Institute’s Scott Wallsten, complaints are down in New York and Chicago, including those about general rudeness, busted A/C, and that bit about the credit card machine not working. The drop in complaints corresponds with the rise of availability of Uber and Lyft in those cities, they claim.

Uber effect on taxis chart 1“The Competitive Effects of the Sharing Economy: How is Uber Changing Taxis?” by Scott Wallsten

Looking at the NYC data — corroborated with data on Google Trends and even controlling for factors like weather — the number of complaints per 100,000 rides definitely seems to have retreated with the rise of the car share phenomenon as seen in the chart above. The data was taken per taxi ride, so it’s not just that fewer people are taking yellow cabs.

uber effect on taxis chart 2

In the Chicago study, complaints about “reckless driving” are down quite a bit, which may also be due in part to a 2012 “How’s my driving?” consumer awareness campaign (Mayor DeBlasio, are you listening?). This all suggests that either passengers fed up with taxis have decamped for Uber-ville altogether and taken their complaints with them, or that cabbies have realized that they’d better be nice to passengers now that they have other options. It may turn out that the competitive landscape makes drivers view their positions in a more businesslike way, hence a more professional demeanor, now that customers actually have a choice. Of course, as they say, your mileage may vary.

What has your experience been? Has it been a while since a cab driver drove you right over the edge? Let us know in the comments below!

[Via Washington Post]

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