When people think of Las Vegas, they think of gambling, drinking, and other things our mothers would rather not have us doing. But, almost as much as cities like New York and Chicago, taxi cabs have long been a part of Sin City’s scintillating culture. As an article in the Las Vegas Review Journal points out, however, that is probably changing.
The piece notes that rideshare giants Uber and Lyft appear to be cutting into the business of cabs in a major way, with taxi trips being reduced by some 19.2 percent between November of 2016 and 2015. Local regulators are also apparently crying foul, arguing that fees and licensing are not being handled fairly.
It’s hard to say whether or not the taxi industry will be able to fight back, but they do seem like underdogs right now. Lyft and Uber are incredibly convenient and nimble services and, of course, substantially less expensive than cabs, though that might change in the future.
Even so, the change might not be completely for the better. There are always trade-offs. First, there is the cultural issue. Taxi drivers are professionals and have a certain way of looking at things that can make them valuable beyond simply getting from place to place. If you’re over a certain age, there’s a good chance you have some fond memories of chats with colorful cab drivers. We’re not saying that ridesharing drivers can’t also be colorful characters, but the fact that they largely tend to be part-timers trying to earn some extra cash, rather than full-time professionals, makes them somewhat less of a breed apart.
More seriously, of course, with more lenient requirements for Uber and Lyft drivers, personal injuries could begin to increase over time. While many agencies are arguing to heighten screening requirements, and that might help, there is one more saving grace that we often tend to hark back to. That’s the fact that, as billion dollar companies, Uber and Lyft provide quite a bit of insurance coverage for their drivers: roughly $1 million to cover their own liability and uninsured/underinsured motorists who may be at fault. While it’s obviously much better to avoid a personal injury than to have to be compensated for one, it’s at least good to know that it’s there if you need it.