D.C.’s decline of the Classic Cab

One of the declining number of Cabs remaining in D.C.

By Nathan Easington, Howard University News Service

Uber, Lyft and Bird.

Over the past five years and 18 months specifically, apps like Uber, Lyft and Bird have all contributed to people having no reason to continue the use of classic cabs.  Due to the expense, availability and accessibility of transportation apps, people from many demographics have started to lean towards the direction of these apps opposed to allowing cab companies to have complete dominance in the field. 

“I think it is just cheaper, coming back from the airport (BWI) is only about $40 depending on the time you go, but with cabs it’s at least $60,” said Abraham, who declined to give his last name. Abraham has been an Uber driver in D.C. for four years. 

Uber came onto the transportation scene for many just a few years ago, even though officially starting in 2009.  However, their clearly lower prices compared to cabs have helped push the company to the forefront of transportation for everyday people to celebrities.  In addition the accessibility of Uber makes getting a driver much easier than the iconic hailing of a cab.

“It’s on your phone, the time between deciding to call an Uber and actually getting a car is minutes,” said Minrah Perdescue, a D.C. cab driver of over 15 years. 

Accessibility has also played a large part in the decline of the classic cab.  If a person isn’t calling from a place where dozen of cabs are waiting to pick passengers up, the likelihood of hailing a random cab down on the street is small depending on your location.  However, an even cheaper option has recently become available. 

People using the rentable Bird scooters has also played a part in decreasing the need for people to call cabs, or Ubers. 

“I’ve seen people take their scooters from the street to the train, and get off at their stop and continue to use the scooter,” said Ray Millian, a train conductor stationed in Ward 6. 

This reduces the need for any car service all together, as most scooter apps start at just $1.15 to being your ride.  However, for longer distances, the 10mph speed limit on all D.C. scooters creates issues. 

As the world of transportation continues to develop to make the ride for the customer more luxurious, accessible and inexpensive, classic transport companies are starting to feel the hurt.