Uber’s emergence has meant good things for consumers, bad things for Labor and perhaps ruination for those who thought they’d purchased a piece of the American Dream in the form of a taxi medallion. Prices are reportedly falling precipitously, though even at a reduced rate, who wants to buy a piece of yesterday?
Two excerpts: one from earlier this year by Henry Blodgett at Business Insider about the reach of Uber in its home market of San Francisco, and the other from Aamer Madhani’s new USA Today report about beleaguered medallion owners.
In its most mature market, San Francisco, the four-year old Uber is already bigger than the local taxi market. Much bigger, in fact.
According to Uber CEO Travis Kalanick, who spoke at the DLD Conference in Munich on Sunday, the taxi market in San Francisco is about $140 million per year.
Uber’s revenues in San Francisco, meanwhile, are running at $500 million per year.
That’s more than three times the size of the taxi market.
And Uber’s revenues in San Francisco are still growing at about 200% per year.
Kalanick dropped some other startling statistics about Uber on Sunday:
- Uber’s rides in San Francisco are growing 3X per year
- Uber’s rides in New York are growing 4X per year
- Uber’s rides in London are growing 5X to 6X per year
Until recently in America’s big cities, purchasing a taxi medallion—the city-issued license to operate cabs —was about as sound of an investment as they come.
But with the rise of Uber and other ridesharing services, the value of taxi medallions are plummeting, leading cabbies and fleet owners throughout the USA worried that their industry will be decimated if local and state government doesn’t intervene.
“I have had a pretty successful thing,” said Gary Karczewski, 65, a Chicago cabbie who inherited his medallion from his father 28 years ago and earned enough to purchase two homes and help send his two daughters to college by driving the equivalent of 80 times around the world. “My hope was to wind down soon and give whatever I could sell the medallion for to my mother. But I am not confident there’s a market now.”•