The advent and rise in popularity of ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft has meant mostly bad news for cab drivers in major metropolitan areas, which shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone who has visited a city like L.A., San Francisco, or even Boston.
A study KPCC profiled last October showed that Uber and Lyft rides make up 41 percent of ground travel for business travelers, up from 13 percent in 2013. New numbers out from the L.A. Times further corroborate how hard the cab industry in Los Angeles has been hit.
Meanwhile, nice rideshare services are getting more attention. Massachusetts-based startup Chariot made headlines this week that aims to address many of the concerns about safety when using Uber.
Chariot plans to hire only female drivers and only pick up female passengers (or kids under 13). The idea has gotten a lot of praise on paper and is not the first of its kind, but has raised questions about whether the hiring process would be illegally discriminatory.
A service called SheRides in New York had to shut down after male drivers threatened to sue, but plans to reopen this summer as SheHails, giving female riders and drivers the option to pick up a male passenger or ride with a male driver, respectively. Still, the popularity services like Chariot and SheRides have received would suggest that there is a market for niche ridesharing services.
Today on AirTalk, we’ll take a look at how cabs are faring in Los Angeles against ridesharing, plus talk with some sharing economy experts and take your calls about the market for niche ridesharing services like Chariot.
Meghan McCarty, KPCC reporter covering transportation and mobility
Alison Griswold, reporter at Quartz covering the sharing economy; her latest piece is "I was meant to do this: The man behind the Uber-for-women startup talks female empowerment;” she tweets from @alisongriswold