SAN FRANCISCO — The increased congestion in San Francisco is the not only thing Pinoy taxi driver, Rick Manansala, gripes about when it comes to transit network companies like Uber and Lyft.
A recent report by the Northeastern University shows that on an average weekday, ride-share drivers average about 170,000 pickups in San Francisco.
“Kami, 5,000 lang kami na taxi, eh sila 60,000. It’s not a fair playing field,” Manansala said.
For Manansala, who has been driving a taxi for seven years, this means a drastic loss of income.
Before Uber and Lyft, he says he could earn up to $300 for a full day of work. Now, he’s lucky to earn half that amount.
So what he does, like many taxi drivers, is wait for passengers that may need longer rides — and can pay bigger fares — at the airport.
But this is the scenario that awaits them.
St the San Francisco International Airport, at this taxi lot, drivers say it used to be that they would only wait an hour to get passengers. But since Lyft and Uber became more popular, they now have to wait at least two hours, maybe even three, just to make money.
Pinoy Lyft driver Ryan Cayabyab started out with Uber in 2011.
He says taxi cabs are a thing of the past. He points out that passengers prefer ride-sharing over taxis because it’s convenient. They use advanced smartphone technology to help riders find drivers fast.
“Whoever orders it, whoever is closest, we can get there in three to four minutes. With taxis, they’ll say it’s 30 minutes, sometimes longer. Sometimes they don’t even show up.”
Cayabyab says not only do they offer a much lower rate compared to taxi cabs, he claims they’re safer for passengers.
“It’s more safer; at least you know who your driver is. The best part about ride sharing is that yung information ng driver at passenger nasa system.”
Manansala begs to disagree. He argues passengers are better off riding taxi cabs because drivers are more experienced and follow particular guidelines.
Compared to ride-sharing drivers, he says they go through rigorous background checks before being issued driving permits.
He also says taxi cabs can provide up to a million dollars of commercial insurance coverage for passengers who get into an accident — while ride sharing drivers can only cover up to $35,000 with their private insurance.
“That’s a big difference. You take your chances. Syempre, you get what you pay for di ba.”
In this battle between tried and tested taxi cabs, versus the newly famous ride sharing companies, industry experts will be the first to tell you that the real winners here are the passengers — the consumers who have more options to choose which type of driving service truly fits their lifestyle.