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TAXI INDUSTRY: The impact of global digitalisation, decarbonisation, climate change and pandemic

Updated: May 29, 2023



If public transport is the backbone of urban mobility, then taxis and ride-hailing services are its safety net, providing fast, reliable, 24- hour service. But what is the current state of those players in 2023?

The latest UITP Statistics Brief: “Global Taxi and Ride-Hailing Benchmarking Study 2019- 2021” provides a detailed picture of those services in different cities across the globe.

This expert data shows a general pattern of what happened during COVID-19, and during a time when energy prices sky-rocketed as the climate emergency became much more apparent.


WHAT WERE THE FINDINGS?


COVID-19 had a huge impact on the Taxi and Ride-Hailing market, with the numbers of riders dropping by 74% in 2020 in Chicago, 56% in Casablanca, 59% in San Francisco and 39% in Dubai. As of the end of 2021, all four cities had not recovered to previous levels of ridership, registering an average of 84% of pre-COVID trips.

The number of ‘Clean’ vehicles increased. Out of the cities which provided data, cleaner taxi vehicles increased by 15%, while

petrol and diesel decreased by 24%. Battery electric vehicles (BEVs) have increased by 66% over the last three years, but still only represents less than 1% of the total fleet.


Local public authorities, even when they cannot regulate taxi and ride-hailing services, can contract their vehicles for specific services to support the local public transport system. These include transport for people with reduced mobility (frequently known as ‘paratransit services’) or to complement a Demand-Responsive Transport (DRT) scheme.


The UITP also highlighted that from the data collection there was the clear lack of available data on these services despite the progressive digitalisation of the sector. Out of all the cities which participated in the research, none of them have an overview of the total number of requests for taxi and ride-hailing services.


Lidia Signor, UITP Combined Mobility Manager, said: “Local public authorities are called to step up their competence over taxi and ride-hailing services and overcome the observable lack of available data in order to shape a more integrated, inclusive and sustainable mobility system.”

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