Arrival of Uber and Lyft in Lancaster County forces cabbies to work harder to get riders – LancasterOnline


Once once more, New Year’s Eve revelers in Lancaster County could have the choice of arranging a experience residence with a smartphone app.

And this yr, in addition to having the ability to name an Uber, native residents can use their telephones to get a driver by means of Lyft, which launched its service final month in Lancaster County.

It’s all been a boon for a sure class of tech-savvy passenger in addition to people who use their very own automobiles and some additional time to generate income driving for the experience-hailing providers.

But, it’s a unique story for conventional cab drivers.

“They take a lot of business,” stated Jim Craun, who drives for Lancaster City Cabs and says he’s been dropping out on passengers, particularly on Friday and Saturday nights.

“The bar crowd will call Uber and stand out in the cold when there’s cabs right there,” stated Craun, 59, who has been a cab driver in Lancaster for 9 years.

More than a yr and a half after Uber launched in Lancaster County, the experience-hailing service has clearly unsettled native cab drivers, who report making much less cash per shift.

Yet the roughly dozen drivers or house owners of conventional taxi providers interviewed for this story say there’s nonetheless a spot for conventional cabs in Lancaster County, even when they’ve to work harder to discover fares.

“If you do the cab right, you can make money,” cab driver Alan Ramos stated.

Since September, the 63-year-previous Ramos has been driving for Express Taxi, a Berks and Lancaster County enlargement of Harrisburg-based Keystone Cab Co., which started this summer time.

Ramos, who retired as a salesman at Men’s Wearhouse, stated he could make $120 on a 12-hour shift, however has discovered that the bar crowd is usually a misplaced trigger.

Instead, Ramos stated he can increase his revenue by creating repeat clients who may have a daily journey to or from work, maybe late at night time.

“It’s up to the individual who is driving and the approach they take to it,” he stated.

Another driver, Ryan Sexton, who works for Yellow Cab, stated the corporate’s accounts with native faculties and companies imply assured pickups.

Yet, that doesn’t make up for misplaced revenue from busy Friday and Saturday nights, he provides.

When he drove for Yellow final yr earlier than Uber was as in style, Sexton stated might anticipate to make greater than $200 on a Friday or Saturday night time. Now, it’s nearer to $75.

“It’s a lot different than what it was,” stated the 32-year-previous Sexton, who lives close to Mountville.

Ramos and Sexton have been among the many cab drivers who stopped by the Lancaster practice station on Thursday to wait for patrons.

Several different cab drivers who lined up on the station’s cab stand didn’t need to give their identify, together with a number of who stated they considered driving for Uber, however couldn’t meet the corporate’s requirement that automobiles be no older than 10 years.

Most of the cabbies had robust opinions about Uber, with one calling its drivers “scabs.”

Craun, the Lancaster City Cab driver, was dismissive of Uber drivers, who he says don’t truly know their approach round.

“A lot of these Uber guys, if they don’t have that app, they can’t find their house.”

Yet Craun additionally stated he understood what was motivating native Uber and Lyft drivers.

“It’s just a bunch of guys trying to make extra money — and you’re never going to run out of them,” he stated.

One such man is Juan Fernandez, a 36-year-previous Lancaster resident who has a full-time job at a bakery however began driving for Uber about two months in the past.

Fernandez principally goes out on Friday and Saturday nights, saying he likes the pliability of making some extra cash on his personal schedule.

“I own my own car. I can own my own time,” he stated.

While the state legislature lately gave Uber and Lyft formal permission to function in the state, their enterprise practices nonetheless increase hackles with some conventional cab corporations.

Jack Schwartz, an proprietor of Yellow Cab, stated he nonetheless thinks Uber and Lyft are working illegally, particularly when it comes to the insurance coverage they keep it up their automobiles.

“Hopefully the (Public Utility Commission) in Harrisburg will start to crack down on these services. They’re running illegally,” Schwartz stated.

(Uber and Lyft each say they’ve insurance coverage that adequately covers drivers.)

Yellow Cab is Lancaster’s largest taxi firm, with round 22 automobiles on the street.

While Schwartz acknowledges that his firm has misplaced enterprise to Uber — particularly with out-of-towners, school college students and bar-goers — he’s targeted on persevering with to supply wonderful service.

“We just keep moving forward,” he says.

But Cory Leshner, supervisor for the most recent taxi service in Lancaster — Express Taxi — sees a great aspect of Uber’s influence.

He says the corporate has promoted the thought of catching a journey, which has helped taxi corporations.

“The awareness on public transportation has been positive,” stated Leshner, who oversees the eight cabs that function in Lancaster County.

Leshner says his firm presents aggressive charges, a reality that would ultimately convert individuals who’ve gotten used to paying for rides via Uber or Lyft.

In addition, Leshner says some riders like understanding they will speak to an area supervisor in the event that they run into some type of drawback.

“I think we’ll have a place to kind of co-exist in the market,” he stated.

The proprietor of Lancaster City Cabs didn’t reply to a number of messages left for remark.

One distinctive sort of taxi service in Lancaster additionally seems to principally be withstanding the Uber influence: so-referred to as Amish taxis.

While a number of native Uber drivers have stated they’ve given rides to Amish group members, individuals who specialize in giving such rides say they’re nonetheless fairly busy.

“I’ve never seen any (Ubers) out our way,” stated Carl Cisney, who has spent greater than 40 years working a Strasburg-based Amish taxi service.

Carolyn Hart, an Amish taxi driver who launched her service final summer time in the Manheim space, stated she will can keep fairly busy as an element-time driver.

However, Hart did word a change that might be in keeping with some of her former passengers getting a unique sort of journey.

“I was a lot busier with the youth (last summer),” she stated. “I’m not quite as busy as I was. I don’t know what caused it.”

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