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Hey, Taxi!
July 14, 2014 9:40 AM   Subscribe

NYC Taxis: A Day in the Life - A Data Visualization displays the data for one random NYC yellow taxi on a single day in 2013. See where it operated, how much money it made, and how busy it was over 24 hours.

Asterisks:

Trip Routes are a result of passing the start and end locations to the Google Directions API. They are a possible route that the taxi took, but should not be assumed to be accurate.

Empty Taxis also follow the "best route" between a dropoff and the next pickup. Just as with the trips, this is just an effective way to move the marker around, but doesn't reflect the reality of where the taxi traveled.

Tips are only reported in the data for credit card transactions. Cash tips are not included.
posted by roomthreeseventeen (30 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

 
ohhhh, so cool!

But dang, those taxis sure drive fast.
posted by rebent at 9:51 AM on July 14


My take home from this, aside from being wowed by the visualization, is that driving a taxi is a very very hard way to make a living.
posted by mcstayinskool at 9:52 AM on July 14 [7 favorites]


Glad to see those tips were only partial.
posted by ursus_comiter at 9:55 AM on July 14 [1 favorite]


This is neat. The three taxis I saw had a wide range of revenue and passenger numbers. One seemed to thrive on the morning rush hour and again in the evening rush. One, seemed to do ok by getting trips to Brooklyn and Queens. (One to LGA). One made about $320 all day. I wonder what the cost of leasing a cab is per day and the gas costs.
posted by 724A at 9:57 AM on July 14


Tips are only reported in the data for credit card transactions. Cash tips are not included.

I totally missed this on the first visit. I was about to brag about how good a tipper I am on trips to NYC.
posted by DigDoug at 10:00 AM on July 14


$719 for a days work. How much of that goes to the cab driver and how much to the company??
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 10:07 AM on July 14


When you factor in vehicle maintenance, fuel, etc I don't know how anyone survives driving a cab.
posted by blue_beetle at 10:10 AM on July 14


Anytime, anywhere.
posted by davebush at 10:11 AM on July 14


Taxi drivers and chauffeurs earned a median of $10.97 an hour, or $22,820 per year, in 2012. The annual median wage of a taxi driver and chauffeur working in New York City is $34,060, which is $11,240 more than the average pay in the profession.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 10:11 AM on July 14 [2 favorites]


He had made $141 in cash fares, plus another $150 from credit cards, for a total of $291. Not bad for 12 hours of work.

Then, he ticked off his losses. He had paid about $110 to the garage upfront, just to rent his cab. Drivers pay out-of-pocket for gasoline, and it cost $38 to fill up his tank. Another $15.50 went to the state, for a transit tax.

The grand total: about $127, or $10.58 an hour, which Mr. Faustino deemed his average wage. “That’s more or less what I do,” he said, sounding a bit resigned.
via
posted by griphus at 10:12 AM on July 14 [2 favorites]


Facture in predatory companies like Lyft and Uber and you can see why cabbies aren't happy with that.
posted by monospace at 10:14 AM on July 14 [1 favorite]


I watched a taxi take someone from lower Manhattan to Newark airport at 7am, and then drive empty from Newark to Astoria and pick up someone there. I'm trying to figure out how that makes sense. Shift change around 8am?
posted by moonmilk at 10:16 AM on July 14


Someone recently told me that Uber operates as a livery cab service in NYC, anyone know if that's accurate?
posted by griphus at 10:16 AM on July 14


This is super, super neat, but it would also be cool to see the actual routes followed by the cabs: where they stopped for lunch, how they got to the airport, how long the car ever spends at a depot, where they tried and failed to pick up fares, etc.
posted by evidenceofabsence at 10:26 AM on July 14


Where do they add in the Saturday night puke fee?
posted by 724A at 10:28 AM on July 14 [1 favorite]


I think that's pretty much true, griphus.

Uber is now licensed by the TLC, but that means that their drivers have to follow the same regulations as they would working for any other livery company: they need to be licensed by the TLC, have a TLC-licensed vehicle, and have TLC insurance.
posted by evidenceofabsence at 10:34 AM on July 14


This is like watching a dinosaur slowing wandering from tree to tree and looking up at the incoming meteor.
posted by Another Fine Product From The Nonsense Factory at 10:58 AM on July 14


Damn, that was weirdly riveting. Like an unusually good 90s-era screensaver or something.

Also: There were a couple people in there who got a taxi to go just like an avenue or two over in Manhattan. Who does that? I'm not from New York, so I figure I must be missing something, but that seems like a lot of hassle to cover a pretty short distance.
posted by nebulawindphone at 11:39 AM on July 14


Possibly tourists who used the cap as an alternative to actually navigating themselves?
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 11:47 AM on July 14 [1 favorite]


Also old people. That and if you want to move a heavy box a couple of avenues over, spending the six dollars or whatever is a bargain compared to trying to lug/hand cart it down a busy street or take it on the subway.
posted by griphus at 11:50 AM on July 14 [3 favorites]


Also: There were a couple people in there who got a taxi to go just like an avenue or two over in Manhattan. Who does that? I'm not from New York, so I figure I must be missing something, but that seems like a lot of hassle to cover a pretty short distance.

People who don't know where they are, or possibly people with huge packages or disabilities.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 11:54 AM on July 14 [3 favorites]


nebulawindphone: "Also: There were a couple people in there who got a taxi to go just like an avenue or two over in Manhattan. Who does that? I'm not from New York, so I figure I must be missing something, but that seems like a lot of hassle to cover a pretty short distance."

I have also gotten into a cab, gone for a few avenues, realized it would be quicker to walk traffic sucked so bad so I bailed.
posted by 724A at 12:19 PM on July 14 [6 favorites]


Facture in predatory companies like Lyft and Uber and you can see why cabbies aren't happy with that.

Not necessarilly a bad thing. Cabs spend a lot of time between rush hours chasing relatively few fares.

A comparison of "idly hunting a fare" between the two models would be of interest.

(Not taking a side a priori.)
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 12:27 PM on July 14


Metafilter: People who don't know where they are, or possibly people with huge packages or disabilities.
posted by blue_beetle at 12:44 PM on July 14 [3 favorites]


Also: There were a couple people in there who got a taxi to go just like an avenue or two over in Manhattan. Who does that? I'm not from New York, so I figure I must be missing something, but that seems like a lot of hassle to cover a pretty short distance.

Women wearing high heels that are not suitable for walking more than a few hundred feet.


(I have totally fallen into this category of taxi passenger when I've had to dress extra-fancy for work events. $6 is worth not breaking my ankle trying to walk from 5th to 10th avenue in stillettos.)
posted by thereemix at 1:37 PM on July 14 [1 favorite]


A comparison of "idly hunting a fare" between the two models would be of interest.

I'd definitely think better of Uber and Lyft if all they were peddling was e-hailing apps. Instead, they seem to be selling forceful deregulation that cuts into the margins of experienced drivers who bothered to follow the rules.

There's a reason that other e-hail companies, like Hailo, inspire a lot less ire.
posted by evidenceofabsence at 3:06 PM on July 14 [3 favorites]


Taxi from Hell: Confessions of a Russian Hack by Vladimir Lobas was mentioned in a previous thread on the blue. The financials in the book are about 25 years out of date, but I imagine the "one mistake from destitution" feeling is still wholly accurate. It's out of print but if you can pick up a copy used it's a great autobiography on an unusual subject.
posted by nathan_teske at 3:56 PM on July 14 [1 favorite]


This is an excellent example of what can be done with open data and usable APIs; the data was supplied by the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission under a Freedom of Information request.

A bunch of similar cool NYC civic hacking projects abound at BetaNYC.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 5:55 PM on July 14 [1 favorite]


Here in Chile (Santiago anyway) we have two taxi hailing apps. Only licensed taxis (as far as I can tell) can sign up, but they like it. ~50 cents goes to the app (from the cabbie), fares are standard metered fares. The cabbies love it, less time driving around idle.
(safertaxi.com, easytaxi.com). Is there something similar in the US? I've only ever heard of Uber / Lyft.
posted by defcom1 at 6:10 PM on July 14


It really varies from city to city. In NYC, there are at least four working apps, all of which hail licensed cabbies. The programs are still struggling to find a niche and sort out kinks.

In NYC, Uber started out by defying (sorry, "disrupting") regulators, but ultimately cowed. Lyft, which has refused to obey licensing requirements, attempted to launch anyway last Friday, but was enjoined from doing so.

Elsewhere (e.g., San Francisco, LA), companies like Uber, Lyft, and Sidecar will hook you up with a rideshare from a non-cab driver.
posted by evidenceofabsence at 7:33 PM on July 14


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