New York is far away, but like everything that happens in America sooner or later lands on the Old Continent… After years of open warfare with New York taxis, Uber is going to associate them with its platform, has he announced, Thursday, March 24. It has signed an agreement with the Taxi and Limousine Commission, the regulatory authority for the profession: its customers will be able to book and see a yellow cab (Where green, out of Manhattan) whose fare will be about the same for the basic formula. A peace of the brave after years of “Guerre”.
In 2011, two years after the creation of Uber in California, its arrival in New York had shaken the virtual monopoly of 14,000 taxis, overwhelmed by competition from more than 120,000 passenger vehicles with driver (VTC). They had to create their own platforms, like Curb or CMT. Taxis have been hit by the health crisis and the development of teleworking; their competitor too, whose lack of drivers lengthens the waiting time for customers. Both parties want to believe in a win-win partnership that will increase the supply of routes and allow taxi drivers to access Uber’s rich customer base. For its part, Curb will extend the partnership to its American network. An opening already made with other partners in recent years and which has worked well, assures its boss, Amos Taman.
“We want taxis around the world to use our platform by 2025”, warned Dara Khosrowshahi, CEO of the San Francisco giant, on CNBC. Uber has already made agreements, particularly in Germany and Spain (Madrid, Barcelona, etc.). It must constantly enrich its platform with new offers, as it did in 2014 with Uber Eats meal delivery, where competition is fierce. At the end of 2021, it brought in more than the trips.
The comparative advantage of an Uber compared to a taxi has been greatly reduced. The company remains fragile, even if it posted a profit of 892 million dollars (around 810 million euros) in the fourth quarter – a first – which enabled it to limit its losses to 496 million (compared to 6.8 billion in 2020). Its price of 35 dollars, lower than the level of its introduction on Wall Street, in May 2019 (45 dollars), reflects the persistent skepticism of the markets with regard to an economic model based largely on the status of self-employed drivers. However, more and more courts, in the United States and Europe, are judging that these drivers are, on the contrary, employees entitled to a minimum wage and social protection. Uber is not done with legal battles.