As to the debate regarding ride-sharing services and the displeasure felt toward taxi services (“Local Cab Firms Try to Cut Off Newcomers,” Feb. 13), I think it best to examine the business models of each to determine the current quality of service and the expected quality of service.
The customers of the taxi company are not the public but the taxi drivers themselves. They rent a licensed, insured cab and are supplied trip information by the taxi company. Cab drivers are independent contractors and are in business for themselves. They cannot be told by the cab company to take a particular trip; they are not employees. The goal of the cab driver is to maximize profits, meaning the amount of fares they collect minus the rent of the cab and the gas used. Simply put, you don’t want to drive empty.
So, the cab driver will try to get a trip closest to where he is. He won’t be interested in driving to Bethel Park from Downtown because he will have to drive empty and there is no guarantee that the trip in Bethel Park will not be a short trip anyway.
A ride-sharing service has a similar model. Rather than pay rent for a cab the driver pays a percentage of the revenue of a trip. The same dynamic applies as far as the driver is concerned. Don’t drive empty.
If ride sharing is allowed, cab drivers will make less money. The taxi company will rent fewer cabs and make less money. The ride-sharing drivers will have a technological advantage and will have part of the pie. But you’re still going to wait in Bethel Park.