Taxi strike will help Uber grow in Philadelphia

Sunday saw a nasty storm pass through Philadelphia. The pristine early-morning snowfall was deceptive, giving way to sleet and ice throughout the afternoon and evening. As you might expect, buses were completely off schedule, and walking was sure to get you soaked if not bruised. After waiting for our bus for 20 minutes, we hailed a cab and hopped in. Unprompted, the driver immediately started ranting on Uber, and literally didn't stop until we got out.

He had two specific concerns:

  • he isn't able to adjust his rates to charge more in times of high demand
  • he pays $700/month for insurance while the Uber drivers pay $50

I'll focus on the first. Unhappy about Uber drivers earning 4 times as much on snowy evenings, Taxi drivers are planning to strike in Philadelphia. But this strike is destined to accelerate the adoption of Uber, encouraging stranded travelers to try Uber for the first time when they discover that the public transportation network is woefully inadequate. If Uber is smart, they will respond by training more drivers, and discounting rides during the strike. 

Assuming Uber doesn't succumb to ridiculous surge prices this might be a major turning point for Philly's adoption of ridesharing.