From USA Today:
Operators of the nation’s second-biggest taxi fleet are now accelerating toward their long-rumored extinction, edging towards becoming virtual dinosaurs in the era of ride-sharing monsters Uber and Lyft.
Cabbies have long grumbled that the sky is falling as they lose ground to ride-sharing companies. Now, cabbies in Chicago are pointing to new data that suggests the decline could be speeding up.
About 42% of Chicago’s taxi fleet was not operating in the month of March, and cabbies have seen their revenue slide for their long-beleaguered industry by nearly 40% over the last three years as riders are increasingly ditching cabs for ride-hailing apps Uber, Lyft and Via, according to a study released Monday by the Chicago cab drivers union.
More than 2,900 of Chicago’s nearly 7,000 licensed taxis were inactive in March 2017 — meaning they had not picked up a fare in a month, according to the Cab Drivers United/AFSCME Local 2500 report. The average monthly income per active medallion — the permit that gives cabbies the exclusive right to pick up passengers who hail them on the street — has dipped from $5,276 in January 2014 to $3,206 this year.
The number of riders in Chicago hailing cabs has also plummeted during that same period from 2.3 million monthly riders to about 1.1 million.