It is not a good time to be working in traditional taxis in L.A., as the last three years have seen taxi usage plummet 30 percent in three years.
According to recent reports, Uber and Lyft are behind the precipitous drop-off, which has seen taxi ridership plummet from 8.4 million in 2012 to a little over 6 million in 2015. The biggest losers are what used to be the hottest areas — the touristy spots in Hollywood and downtown.
Combined with falling ridership is a mathematical model for drivers that is making less and less sense. Rental costs for taxis and equipment are as high as they’ve ever been, even as drivers are seeing fewer and fewer fares. Drivers making $800 a week a few years ago are now down to $400 and $500 a week, with figures expected to fall even lower.
Taxi have held on in two areas — and seen growth. Airport trips were up 14 percent and trip to South Los Angeles, which is perceived as dangerous and full of low fares, were also on the incline. The airport, however, is likely to be a diminishing bastion of strength, as L.A. recently opened up operation there for both Uber and Lyft drivers.