PHILADELPHIA (WTXF) - Need a ride? You're about to get a front row seat to the latest battle between Philadelphia's established taxi cab companies and the ride-sharing services Uber and Lyft.
As a fleet of taxicabs sat waiting for fares at Philadelphia’s 30th Street station Tuesday, the talk among cabbies was of banding together to beat back the threat to their livelihoods posed by the ride-sharing services Uber and Lyft.
“We don’t have any other alternative,” said cabbie Seid Asadi. “Just getting unity together and more power to us.”
Over the next month, nearly 300 PHL and Freedom taxis will rebrand with 700 Get-A-Cabs all under the Get-A-Cab logo.
The strategy is simple: there’s strength in numbers. The more cabs in the fleet, the shorter the wait for passengers.
The plan also calls for an updated smart phone app: 215 getacab, and improvements to the vehicles themselves: removing partitions and adding phone chargers and moving from meters to tablet payment.
Not all the drivers are optimistic.
“It won’t work,” said Get-A-Cab driver Nate Isaac. “It won’t work.”
Uber and Lyft have— seemingly in no time at all— grabbed the lion’s share of business in Philadelphia for reasons that are as simple as they are powerful: “The convenience,” said one man after climbing out of his Uber ride. “They’ll pick you up anywhere, anytime, and you just develop a habit.”
Not far away, a woman was waiting for her Uber. Why switch from taxis, Fox29’s Bruce Gordon asked her.
“Well, they are usually cleaner!”
Then there’s the cost: a usually lower, set price that’s known before the ride.
Get lost or stuck in traffic?
Not your problem.
Uber and Lyft have stolen riders and attracted drivers.
“Last week, I worked 15 hours and made $404,” explained Uber driver Jesus Colon as he waited for his passenger.
Just then his smartphone signaled that his passenger was ready for pick-up.
FOX 29’s Bruce Gordon described for Colon the changes promised by the taxi companies to better compete.
He was unimpressed.
“They can’t win,” said Colon of the cab companies. “Uber and Lyft are unstoppable, pretty much.”