Quoted: Will taxis ‘survive’ Uber?

“We survived two world wars and the Great Depression; we will survive Uber.”

Mark Joseph, chief executive officer of Transdev North America, one of the world’s largest private transportation companies and Uber’s single largest competitor, according to Bloomberg. Joseph has been president of the Taxicab, Limousine and Paratransit Association eight times. The TLPA (and Transdev and its subsidiaries) have lobbied hard against Uber — in states such as Colorado, Maryland and Pennsylvania; in Paris; and in media inboxes via “Who’s Driving You?”, a campaign that aims to portray Uber’s practices as unsafe and illegal.

Uber, which makes an app that allows users to hail rides using their mobile phones, has put the global taxi industry on the defensive: Last year, for example, thousands of cab drivers around Europe stopped traffic to protest the company. The rise of Uber has also left governments scrambling to update or create regulations: Uber has faced bans in China, in Germany and elsewhere — although the company defies bans in some places. In some cases, Uber has had to think creatively in an effort to do business in markets where its ride-hailing service is not welcome: In Spain, it has started a food-delivery service.

So how might the taxi industry survive Uber, as Joseph says above? Well, some in the industry admit that Uber’s technology is pretty cool. “The app system is the future, absolutely. There’s no going back,” Mike Fogarty, TLPA president and head of Tristar Worldwide, a global limousine company, told Bloomberg. Chicago last year approved a plan to back an app for riders to hail local cabs. Flywheel, a well-backed San Francisco-based startup, makes an app that lets customers hail traditional taxis; Heather Somerville reported last month that FlyWheel-brand taxis are hitting the streets of San Francisco.


Photo: Sign outside Uber offices in San Francisco (Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group)


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  • Timothy_F

    As long as you can hail a cab without going through a phone, there will be taxi’s. The only question is will taxi eventually say no more to hailing and go 100% smartphone based so they can start surcharging and start making the big bucks? I see those individuals running taxi deregulating themselves and going the TNC route more than anything since there are less regulations on that end. In the end, taxi won’t disappear, it will just adjust.

  • DL2014

    Will the drivers of any of these services survive the advent of driver-less systems instantly called by an app driven location? Doubtful.

  • Gersh Mayer

    Uber is definitely hellbent on developing the driverless car. Any driver who invests in a car had better be prepared to get about 5 minutes notice within the next 6 years that they’re outta here.