As the city’s for-hire vehicles (FHVs) rack up nearly 800,000 rides per day, Mayor Bill De Blasio announced on Wednesday the Taxi and Limousine Commission’s new plan to extend last year’s cap on for-hire vehicle licenses, the New York Post reports. A second cap will be placed on the length of time FHVs can let their cars cruise the city without passengers in the most congested part of Manhattan, below 96th Street. Last August, the city also suspended the issuance of new licenses. The new policies are expected to increase driver salaries by about 20 percent and make traffic in Manhattan below 60th Street six to 10 percent faster.
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Images: Esri Taxi Cab Terrain map
Looked at from any distance, New York City may appear to be a honking sea of cars and taxis, with the latter making the biggest visual impact (and probably doing the most honking). Thanks to GIS gurus Esri via Maps Mania, we have a snapshot–an aggregate vision, if you will–of a year of life in the Big Apple made up of the city’s taxi journeys. The Taxi Cab Terrain map allows you to zoom in and find out about the many millions of rides that start and end in the New York City and New Jersey metro areas based on data from the NYC Taxi & Limousine Commission. Mapping yellow cab travel data covering July 2015 to June 2016, the map shows how different NYC boroughs use taxis and how they pay for their rides. Esri’s John Nelson then takes a look at socioeconomic data to look for influences that might impact how different neighborhoods use and pay for cab rides.
More from the map, this way
Image via Wiki Commons
110 years ago on August 13th, one of the cornerstones of New York City life, the first metered taxicab, rolled into the city’s streets. The metered fare idea was born, fittingly, in 1907 when Harry N. Allen was smacked with a five dollar fare ($126.98 in today’s dollars) for being driven a quarter of a mile in a horse-drawn hansom cab. Allen imported 65 gas-powered cars from France, painted them red and green, and started the New York Taxicab Company. The elven hues were replaced by the iconic yellow shortly thereafter so they could be seen from a distance, and a year later 700 cabs were nowhere to be found when you wanted one.
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Starting today, 7,000 yellow cabs will begin offering pooled rides in Manhattan through a collaboration with the mobile ridesharing app Via. Despite the fact that the app is technically a competitor, the taxi industry hopes it will increase drivers’ earnings, as they’ll spend less time searching for fares and will keep the tips from all riders, as well as increase ridership since passengers will receive discounts of up to 40 percent.
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It’s difficult to imagine the hustle and bustle of New York City without its culturally-iconic yellow taxicabs. And while it’s obvious companies chose the color yellow to be more visible to ride-hailers, a study conducted in Singapore found that not only are yellow cars harder to miss, they get in fewer accidents (h/t Mental Floss).
What are the origins of the famous yellow cab
Image by Grant Wickens via flick CC
As far back as 2015, 6sqft reported that the Port Authority was considering fees for vehicles pulling up curbside to drop off or pick up passengers at New York City’s airports as a way to reduce the congestion that has worsened since services like Uber and Lyft have arrived. The city’s airports are among the only ones in the U.S. that don’t charge curbside access fees. Now the Daily News has obtained a Port Authority draft proposal outlining the proposed fees. Taxi and hired car passengers could be hit with a $4 charge for each trip in and out of Kennedy, LaGuardia and Newark airports as early as next year. The fee would be charged to the car operators and would presumably be passed to passengers
The idea is not getting a warm reception
6sqft recently shared analysis that 3,000 ridesharing vehicles could replace the city’s fleet of 13,587 taxis. And while this was more a comment on how carpooling can decrease congestion and emissions, it also points to a changing landscape for yellow cabs. In a piece this weekend, the Times looks at how taxis have fallen out of favor with New Yorkers since apps like Uber and Lyft came onto the scene; these vehicles now number more than 60,000. In 2010, for example, yellow cabs made an average of 463,701 trips, 27 percent more than the 336,737 trips this past November, which also resulted in a drop in fares from $5.17 million to $4.98 million. And just since 2014, the cost of a cab medallion was cut in less than half of its former $1.3 million price tag.
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If the city is looking to cut down on emissions and reduce traffic, here is some food for thought courtesy of folks over at MIT. Researchers at the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL) have determined that 3,000 ridesharing vehicles have the potential to do the same amount of work as NYC’s fleet of roughly 14,000 taxis—that is if New Yorkers are willing to use rideshare carpooling like Lyft Line and Uber POOL.
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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.
What are New Yorkers complaining about less
That’s 183,333,333 trips a year; 15,277,777 a month; and roughly 510,000 a day. And it likely took software developer Todd W. Schneider a long time to put all of that data into this stunning map of taxi pickups and drop offs over the past six years. Green boro taxis are represented in their signature color and traditional yellow cabs in white, with brighter areas representing more taxi activity. As Gothamist first noted, “Yellow cab pickups are concentrated south of Central Park in Manhattan, while drop offs spread north and east into Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx; drop off and pickup activity snakes like a glowworm from Manhattan to the airports: along the Van Wyck Expressway to JFK, and by 278 and 495 to La Guardia.”
Using the TLC’s public data, Schneider also created charts and maps that show taxi travel compared with uber rides; weekend destinations of bridge-and-tunnelers; a late-night taxi index; how weather affects taxi trips; weekday drop-offs at Goldman Sachs and Citigroup; airport traffic; cash versus credit card payments; and the dramatic increase in North Williamsburg taxi activity.
Get a look at the data here