New Yorkers struggle to find rides amid taxi shortage, Uber price hikes
It could be a long, brutal summer for New Yorkers who need a ride.
Emily Wood, a 39-year-old ad executive in the West Village, was late for a doctor visit late last month and couldn’t find a taxi on Sixth Avenue at West 11th Street. So she opened the Uber app and punched in a five-minute trip to West 25th Street.
Uber wanted an eye-popping $39 — so Wood hoofed the 14 blocks in her running sneakers. When the doctor told Wood her blood pressure was high, she had to explain.
“The prices have just been astronomical,” Wood said. “I’m going to plan ahead and I’m going to allow more time to take the subway and walk.”
The problem may get worse before it gets better. As offices reopen and tourists begin to trickle in this summer, industry experts say passengers will face a dire shortage of taxicabs and surging prices for Uber and Lyft rides. That’s because drivers who largely stopped working during the pandemic remain reluctant to come back, instead taking other jobs or collecting unemployment.
“The summer could be really crazy,” Bruce Schaller, a transportation expert and former city transit official, told the Post.
According to the Taxi and Limousine Commission, there were 4,900 yellow cabs cruising the city in April. While that’s up slightly from 4,700 in March — it’s less than half the 11,400 cabs that were available in February 2020, before lockdowns.