Taxi Ridership Drops Sharply In Boston

Amid growing competition from ride-hailing companies, Boston taxi ridership is down 22 percent in the first half of this year, compared with the same period last year, according to data from the city.

From January through June, Boston cabs had about 1.5 million fewer trips than the same six-month period the previous year. For the first half of this year, taxis collected about 5.3 million fares, compared with about 6.8 million during the same time in 2014.

The ridership decline resulted in a 25 percent drop in fare revenue for Boston taxis. For the first half of 2015, Boston cabs collected about $100.5 million in fares, compared with about $133.3 million during the same period in 2014.

The drop in ridership and revenue is also seen going back two years, to 2013, when Boston taxis collected about 7.4 million fares and collected about $136.4 million in fares over the same six-month period.

These declines come as ride-hailing services such as Uber and Lyft are becoming increasingly popular. Taxi companies in Boston and across the country say ride-hailing services should be subjected to the same rules and regulations local taxi industries face.

In Boston, cab drivers have held rallies and the City Council began looking into the issue at the end of last year. Back in 2013, Mayor Marty Walsh created a Taxi Advisory Committee to assess the city's taxi industry and develop new policy on ride-for-hire services.

And across the river, earlier this month, taxi drivers in Cambridge held a strike, calling for more regulations.

Gov. Charlie Baker introduced legislation in April that would require ride-hailing services to have driver background checks. The legislation also seeks to remedy potential insurance gaps for those traveling in ride-for-hire vehicles.

The Boston Globe first reported on the Boston cab figures Wednesday.


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Zeninjor Enwemeka Senior Business Reporter
Zeninjor Enwemeka is a senior business reporter who covers business, tech and culture as part of WBUR's Bostonomix team, which focuses on the innovation economy.



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