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Uber is growing in NYC, but yellow taxis still do double the business

The average taxi driver makes about twice the number of weekly trips that an Uber driver does.

New York’s legendary yellow taxis are still alive and — in some regards — doing pretty well.

In April of this year, there were 11.1 million taxi trips in New York City, about 400,000 trips per day, according to the most recent data published by the city’s Taxi and Limousine Commission. While that’s a 9 percent drop from a year earlier, it’s more than double the number of trips that Uber, the nearest competitor, generated in the same month, according to research from Morgan Stanley.

At the same time, Uber is growing — the 4.7 million rides it had in April was a 121 percent increase over the year before.

The numbers indicate Uber is less efficient, however. Uber dispatches almost as many drivers per week as the taxi companies. That means taxi drivers were performing about twice as many rides per week as Uber drivers were.

According to Morgan Stanley, Uber drivers performed an average of 44 trips per week, or six trips a day over a seven-day week. Taxi drivers, on the other hand, were performing 91 trips per week, or 13 trips a day.

It’s not exactly a surprise that yellow taxis are still the dominant transportation option in New York, but the disparity in trips performed is a telling sign of just how overworked the average taxi driver is. Many taxi drivers have to work to pay off the daily or weekly rental costs of the yellow cab before they can make any income. (This is also true of some Uber drivers who rent or lease cars to drive on the platform.)

That becomes even more apparent when taking UberPool rides into account. According to the company, the number of a driver’s weekly or daily trips would take into account rides that are shared with multiple passengers. Every time an Uber driver picks up a new UberPool passenger, he or she is recorded as having performed a separate trip.

Taxis, on the other hand, don’t have car pool options, so that means the average taxi driver is really performing 13 to 18 separate trips per day.

As for the rest of New York’s transportation options: Lyft saw an 871 percent increase in trips, with close to 750,000 rides in April. The company still makes up just 4 percent of the total number of trips in New York, while Uber grew to account for almost a third. As for the number of drivers each service has dispatched, it’s important to note that the vast majority of drivers typically work for both Uber and Lyft (and sometimes even Gett and Via, too).

Morgan Stanley pointed to Via as the standout among the services when it comes to passenger utilization. The company, which is a ride-share shuttle service, dispatched an average of 1,023 drivers per week. Each of those drivers performed 108 rides a week. But each Via ride, similar to UberPool and LyftLine, picks up as many as five people per ride, each counting technically as an individual trip.

This article originally appeared on

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