Statistics sometimes can and do tell an accurate story. In this case the statistics scream out an contrary tune, not one us cabbies want to hear. I will confine myself to three sets of statistics confirming that we in Seattle and King County are in big trouble, clearly explaining why all of us have found business the past year to be an ongoing struggle. This is also what happens when you either do little to nothing to combat your business adversaries; or as illustrated by what happened in the mayoral negotiations, when the industry allows itself to be out maneuvered and pushed against a wall. It is a bad story but one nonetheless worth heeding.
Total Odometer Miles
What you see is the difference of 1,568,874 miles, or in percentage, an increase of 2.33 percent which is this case is not positive when put in perspective with the figures representing total revenue miles and total fare revenues. What the figure of over 67 million miles tells us is that Seattle and King County taxis drove more miles while making less money. This cannot be called neither a good nor sustainable situation.
Total Revenue Miles
What we are looking at is a total industry revenue lost per mile of $8,121,300.00 or a loss of just over 27 percent.
Total Fare Revenue
These are the figures that should "take you breath away." What we see is a decline of nearly 28 1/2 million dollars over a one year period, or a drop of 28.39 percent or nearly one-third of last year's total revenue. If you didn't understand it before, this helps explains the impact of the City of Seattle and King County's policy changes regarding TNC/Rideshare companies (Uber,Lyft,Sidecar) and the flat-rate for-hire companies. Where has all the money gone? Into their pockets, not ours. This is not funny on any level.
We are operating in a saturated market. In a conversation with Craig Leisy from Seattle's Office of Financial Affairs, he estimated that there are 5000 TNC/Rideshare drivers. While that is difficult to comprehend, if true it means that if we as an industry don't actively respond in a number of areas comprising both legal and overall service and quality, we will only experience a continued diminishing of total income. Many locally also don't understand this but we also nearing a situation that, minus aggressive intervention, Sea-Tac will soon be opened up to both the TNC/Rideshare and flat-rate for-hire industries. This would mean yet another disastrous reduction in overall taxi revenue.
All I can say, gentlemen and ladies, is that we are in real peril. Over the next few weeks I will be offering potential responses. I suggest you take this crisis seriously before all of us are just sitting hour after hour staring at the computer wondering just how are we going to pay our bills.
And I must add that driving for Uber is not the answer. Ask your friends currently driving for them and they will tell you what they already know: they have become a new version of indentured servant minus any legal protections or redress. Capitulation is not, and never will be the answer.
Farwest Taxi Driver Caught in Crossfire
I don't have many details but sometime Monday, June 8th, a Farwest taxi driver was wounded in the stomach by an errant bullet in Des Moines, Washington, a community south of Sea-Tac Airport. The driver is expected to recover. As I always say about this business, you can't be careful enough, too many miles on the road adding up to countless potential situations both good and bad.