At the hands of Uber, Lyft, and Sidecar, yellow (and other color) taxis could be kaput in San Francisco in a year and a half, at least according to the president of one local cab company. DeSoto Cab Co. president Hansu Kim told the Examiner that he'd be "surprised" if local cab companies survived the next 18 months, and said that the whole industry "is in big trouble."
This quote was contained in a piece about the retirement of Chris Hayashi, the head of the SFMTA's taxi division, who's held the post for the past six tumultuous years. Her retirement party, to be held on June 7,is expected to double as a "taxi driver appreciation" celebration.
Local cab companies and independent drivers are, of course, hurting. Last month the Examiner reported that 20 to 25 percent of the fleet of local cabs aren't being driven because there aren't enough drivers who want to work. Attendance at cab-driver training courses has fallen off by more than 50 percent, they also report.
To save off the migration away from cabs, the SFMTA is launching a new ad campaign to try to get more people to use Flywheel, the app that lets you hail a standard cab through your phone. But now that UberX decided to undercut regular taxis' meter rate, and over a year after a scathing report like this one that details just how bad taxi drivers around here can be, it's no wonder that they're being crushed.