Uber, the ride-hailing company that thoroughly disrupted the taxi industry and was initially met with hostility and even legislation barring them from competing with taxi drivers in some areas, today announced that they’ve reached a deal to list all New York City taxis on their app. Yes, you read that right – in NYC you can now hail a cab from your Uber app, as New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission’s (TLC) own ride-hailing software will be connected to Uber’s.
Uber has made similar arrangements abroad in the past on a smaller scale, but this is their first citywide taxi partnership in the US. The strategy became appealing to Uber due to the shortage of drivers they’ve seen during and post-pandemic, and should appeal to riders by offering a larger logistical pool of transportation options as well as alleviating some of the upward pressure on Uber fares caused by the aforementioned driver shortage. Fares for taxis and UberX are expected to be similar.
You don’t often see a disruptor partner with their disrupted industry (do you think Airbnb will ever start listing hotel rooms?) but this is a shining example of how disruptors don’t have to subsume their industry. In addition to forcing the established players to improve their customer offerings, they can, as in this example, instead offer logistical improvements and improve the entire ecosystem for everyone. It’s an important lesson for established companies that want to remain relevant as well as for disruptive startups that collaboration is always an option.
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