The Best New Technologies Don't Just Unseat Incumbents, They Grow the Market

I love Mark Perry's blog but I think he missed an opportunity to point out something awesome in this chart:

We spend a lot of time discussing how Uber and its app-based peers are upending the traditional taxi monopoly.  And no one enjoys seeing a government enforced crony monopoly overturned more than I.  But let's not miss the other story here, which is the tremendous increase in customer well-being and mobility.  Forget the mix for a second and add the two lines.  Monthly passenger rides, which were stuck in the 12-13 million a month range for years, have almost overnight doubled to about 25 million rides with the advent of ride-hailing and the entry of many ordinary folks without taxi medallions into the drive-for-hire business.  This is amazing!


  1. ErikTheRed:

    Pretty simple - using taxis was a dumpster fire of a user experience. I use ride hailing service fairly often and while I won't say that every Uber or Lyft experience has been fantastic, almost all of them are at least OK and it's rare to have one worse than a Taxi. They're almost always far less expensive as well. As much as people bitch about Uber's surge pricing the last time I took a taxi to avoid it the taxi would up costing about the same.

  2. John:

    In major markets, you should add airport van services to the chart. I used them frequently in the past but rarely, if ever, since Uber and Lyft started.

  3. Mark Alger:

    Having experience in both sides of the market, I can suggest that the problem of dispatching taxis using two-way radio engenders an execrable customer experience. The app-and-GPS-based dispatching solution used by Uber & Lyft provides superior customer service, which leads to happier customers, and an expanded market. Taxi companies which adapt to the new model will likely thrive.

  4. marque2:

    There is one town where I found it better to use taxis. That was Vegas. Taxi drivers knew how to get to locations directly. The Uber ones floundered - accidentally driving in parking lots and back alleys. Taxis we're always immediately available - Uber you had to wait. And the taxis we're cheaper.

  5. Magua1952:

    I worked many jobs in my youth but never knew the honor of driving a taxi. I have chatted with taxi drivers, usually immigrants. It is a job where one can earn enough to support a family but only by working 14 or 15 hours a day. Maybe we should be happy these workers have been undermined by Uber and Lyft. From what I have read almost none of these ride sharing workers make a living. Starting with a car with pretty low mileage one is, within a year, broke because cars require maintenance and repair. That's progress?