Street Fight: Uber Drivers vs. NYC Taxi Drivers

As ride-share companies like Lyft and Uber, battle taxi drivers for customers – taxi drivers are hitting back – literally.

There is a battle brewing in the streets of New York City between yellow cab drivers and uber drivers. The tension between the taxi and ride-sharing companies has escalated recently, but in other regions around the world violence has erupted.

According to the Yucatan Times, an altercation between a group of local taxi drivers and a Cancun Uber driver turned deadly when a hit-and-run left one dead.

The local taxi drivers surrounded a car, which they believed to be a Uber driver. The driver of the white Uber vehicle sped off hitting two of them as he tried to escape the incident.

Both drivers were taken to a local hospital, but not before paramedics pronounced one dead on the scene.

And that wasn’t the first time violence erupted in Cancun between drivers. In May, two taxi drivers blocked the roadway, forcing an Uber driver to stop. They proceeded to attack the car with baseball bats while the driver was inside.

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The New Gangs of New York?

In New York, altercations between ride-sharing drivers and yellow cabbies has become the norm in the city. Adeline Monfil signed up as an Uber driver over a year ago, and has experienced her share of encounters with yellow cab drivers.

“All the time, but I ignore it. They try to cause me to have an accident, those were not fun. They start screaming and cursing,” said Monfil. “But what I do is I turn the volume of my music up and act like I can’t hear them.”

This year, the New York Times put the number of yellow cabs on the street at 13,587. Yet, the number of cars connected to Uber is over 46,000.

Edward Munoz, an Uber driver with a year of experience has also had his share of bad run-ins with yellow cab drivers.

“One time I was in the city driving and I pulled over to the side to drop off a passenger, A yellow cab pulled up next to me and started cursing at me,” said Munoz. “He starts telling me to look for a different job. That I’m taking away their money.”

Although not all Uber drivers are innocent. In an article by News.com/au, an argument between an Australian Uber driver and a rival taxi driver turned violent.

Sukhwinder Singh Gill swerved across the road to hit Jahmeet Sidhu as he was standing next to his taxi. Sidhu suffered a broken leg and spent two weeks in the hospital. Uber driver, Shingh Gill, received three years in prison for his actions.

 Related: Will robotaxis deal a death blow to taxis?

Battle for a Living

Yellow cab drivers see things differently, as they’ve struggled to fetch a customer on the streets lately. Ahmed Jallow, a yellow cab driver since 2014 has noticed the struggles drivers are going through.

“It used to be very difficult to get a car to work because they had a lot of rules. Now with Uber it’s easier for younger people to work, which makes it difficult for yellow cab drivers. Now taxi drivers wait three to four hours just to get a call and, at times, they get a call from the base to go home because of the low level of work,” said Jallow.

And things could get worse before they get better. According to the NY Times, Uber is booming in all five boroughs. In fact, this summer Uber recorded an average of 289,000 rides each day compared with 277,000 taxi trips.

So will rising ridership mean rising tempers? If headlines are any indication, it certainly may.

Tell us what you think. Write to us at [email protected]

Israel Rodriguez

Israel Rodriguez

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