Uber took another leap in its plan to draw more taxis to its platform, announcing a partnership Tuesday with Los Angeles Yellow Cab and other taxi fleets in Southern California.
The deal gives six taxi fleets operating in Los Angeles, Orange and San Diego counties access to trip referrals from Uber.
Uber, soon after it was conceived in 2008 as a luxury car service, began to disrupt the taxi industry in the US and continues to aggressively elbow into the global transportation industry. But Uber is now hoping that the traditional taxi business, its former nemesis, will support its next expansion.
Uber initially partnered with taxi companies mostly outside the United States. Last year it unveiled a deal in the US, announcing a deal with taxi companies in New York City and a similar deal with Flywheel Technologies in San Francisco.
“As we continue to strengthen our relationship with the taxi industry, we are excited to announce our partnership,” Camiel Irving, Uber’s general manager of US and Canada mobility, said in an email. statement. “We are encouraged by the support from local regulators in California and look forward to continuing to work closely with our taxi partners to bring the benefits of this program to more taxi drivers and cities across the country.”
William Rouse, chief executive of the Southern California taxi operations involved in the deal, said the partnership with Uber gives taxi drivers access to more rides, while helping Uber squeeze out hundreds more who are drivers.
“We are absolutely excited about this partnership,” said Rouse. “We are very happy with it. This will put more money in the drivers’ pockets.”
He said that over the years the taxi industry has lost most of its business at night, with a decrease in the number of trips during those hours; he sees the partnership as a “huge opportunity” to rebuild that presence.
The six taxi companies in Rouse totaled 1,200 vehicles; it includes San Diego Yellow Cab, California Yellow Cab, Los Angeles Yellow Cab, Long Beach Yellow Cab, Fiesta Taxi Cooperative Inc. and United Checker Cab.
Uber has previously called the taxi industry corrupt and greedy, and the taxi industry has long said that Uber and other rideshare giants that have burst onto the scene have destroyed their business model and destroyed the livelihoods of their drivers. driver.
But Rouse said he prefers not to dwell on the bad past. He said that Uber first reached out to the taxi industry at a trade association conference a few years ago: “It was a shock, but I think everything is fine. In my personal discussions with (Uber) nothing I see nothing but professionalism.
Uber and the taxi companies’ technology will be integrated in phases. Initially, Uber’s app will be loaded on drivers’ tablets, and drivers will receive calls through the app. Eventually, Uber will integrate directly with the delivery system of taxi companies.
LA Yellow Cab and its partner fleets managed by Rouse all offer rides on the RideYellow digital platform. Once taxi drivers sign up, they will begin receiving Uber trip referrals in the coming weeks.
After Uber’s San Francisco taxi pilot program went public last year, some taxi drivers expressed concerns about Uber’s continued expansion. Uber pointed to a quarterly analysis by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency that found that drivers who provided Uber rides from April to June of this year earned an average of $1,767 per month from the trips, which 23.8% more on average than taxi drivers do. not providing Uber rides.
Although Uber is regulated at the state level, taxi companies are regulated locally, meaning Rouse’s taxi fleet is largely managed by the cities in which they operate.
Last year, the Los Angeles City Council approved an ordinance to offer digital upgrades to taxis, giving riders better access to taxis through cellphone apps like Uber and Lyft that operate.
The measure gives ride-hail apps access to traffic and other city data intended to make dispatching drivers more efficient. It also removed the caps on the number of authorized cabs that received a 10-year operating permit. City officials say they will monitor how well the system works and analyze driver salaries, fleet size, wait times and ride frequency.