Cab Business Cratering in Vegas

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It’s no secret that Las Vegas cab companies and drivers are feeling the sharp pinch of Uber/Lyft stealing their lunch. The ridesharing services that require only a smartphone and allow riders to pay within the application are becoming one of the most popular ways to get around Las Vegas. But HOW MUCH are Las Vegas Cabs being hurt? What are the actual numbers behind the drop off in cab business?  

With the aid of numbers straight from the Nevada Taxi Cab Authority, we have answers. The Taxi Authority measures trip and revenue data in all Nevada Counties totaling over 700,000 residents and Clark County, home to Las Vegas, is the only county with a population in excess of that figure. Essentially, the cab reporting we are looking at deals ONLY with Clark County.  

First, we took a look at the number of trips Vegas Cabbies made from 2012 through 2017. It looks eerily similar to the stock market at the beginning of the great recession… Not good.  

Las Vegas taxi revenue, graphed below, is plummeting in lock step with cab trips which isn’t surprising.  

The negative trend for cab drivers in Las Vegas doesn’t look any cheerier to start 2018 either. Year to date trips through April are down 12.86% compared to the same 4 months in 2017 and year to date revenue is down 14%. It’s not pretty.  

The reasons Las Vegas travelers are switching from cabs to ridesharing apps are numerous.  

  • Ride share apps provide for quick and easy electronic payment (without a service charge),  
  • The price you pay is quoted upfront.  
  • Uber/Lyft dictate the route to the driver preventing “long hauling” or taking a longer route to drive up the price. If you feel a Lyft/Uber operator did long haul you, you can easily report it within the app and get refunded.  
  • Rideshare apps are cheaper than cabs – often by 20-30%.  

How have some Las Vegas taxi drivers responded to the negative trend? The most laughable way possible. A group of drivers are boycotting pickups at casinos that work with Uber and Lyft. Basically, withholding a service with fading demand and simultaneously giving their hated competition more business.  

You can check out the boycott effort, to include boycott locations and dates, at the Vegas Drivers Unite website. Participating drivers will be boycotting Bellagio Thursday – Sundays in June 2018 followed by NYNY in July (tentatively) and Mandalay Bay in August (tentatively). The website threatens additional dates as well beyond the summer.  You won’t be stranded however; the competition will be there to save the day, and for less!

In the business world, you either innovate or you die. Cab operators have decided against improving their product, developing an effective ride hailing app and cleaning up the image/trustworthiness of their product. Instead, they are choosing to walk the same path organizations like Sears, Circuit City, Blockbuster and Blackberry already have.  

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