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How Uber and Lyft compete with south bend taxi drivers

SOUTH BEND — More people are turning to the sharing economy for the things they need. There's perhaps no better example than ride sharing. Lyft made its debut in the city Thursday.

Uber has been here for a while and now people will have another option for getting around town.

With cheap fares and easy apps, more riders are using ride sharing. But traditional city of south bend taxi businesses are suffering. "Guys used to be able to drive maybe three days a week, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, during notre dame football season and make a couple of thousand, probably more. With Uber we've got to work longer hours we got to work the entire week we got to work the entire season,” said Andrew Mwangi, Owner of South Bend Taxi. Mwangi says he loses about 50-percent of his past profits during football season because of Uber and Lyft.

But ride sharing and south bend taxi cabs seem to have a different client base. "Mostly Uber tends to target the student crowd,” Mwangi said. He says south bend taxis sees a lot more older professionals. "We’re a bit more experienced, we know the town better we're more reliable probably more trustworthy,” he said. A Lyft costs just 88 cents a mile, while Mwangi's cab runs $2.75. That means Lyft drivers don't make as much but there are still perks. Cheryl Thomas has a disabled daughter and a veteran husband.

"I have to be able to take them to the hospital if they need to go and the doctors and all that stuff. So, this is a good job for me because I can take off whenever I want to,” said Thomas, an Uber and Lyft driver. The differences don't stop there. Taxi drivers are required to do a lot-- chauffeur licensing, and city licensing, annual physical, vision and drug testing, and city licensing. Uber and Lyft -- not so much.

"They do a background check, you have to upload all your information, picture of your car your insurance your license, you have to do an inspection on your car,” said Thomas. But Uber and Lyft seem to be the way of the future.
"Change happens, you have to adapt to it. Uber is here to stay, I think they've proven that. They're $100 billion valuation company so it's happening all across the state all across the globe so we just have to adapt and make do,” said Mwangi. Mwangi says he's actually started driving for Uber himself. He says city of south bend taxi cabs mainly drive during the day and Ubers and Lyfts are popular at night. He says he can do both and recoup some loses.

Source: WSBT