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From cab to Uber to cab, drivers try to find a way to make a living | Philly

The legislation legalizing ride-share businesses in Philadelphia allowed cabs also to increase their rates during busy times — which Uber calls surge pricing —  but so far, none has done it, Kirlin said. People in the industry see a consistent rate as an asset that could attract customers, she said.

Leventhal noted cab drivers’ training, pointing to five days of testing to memorize city landmarks and the best routes. And he dismissed the Uber and Lyft culture of the chatty driver.

“A cab driver is a professional driver,” Leventhal said. “He’s not there to be your friend.”

Kirlin of the PPA, though, said the cab industry has squandered opportunities. The 2016 legislation gave cab companies less stringent inspection requirements and the ability to do their own background checks. The condition of vehicles has noticeably declined since then, Kirlin said, and the authority has found owners that aren’t doing background checks.

Some drivers still fight battles long since decided. About 15 percent of complaints to the PPA cite drivers who refused to take a credit card, something required since 2005, Kirlin said.

Even if cabs fully embraced professionalism and new technology, it might not be enough to resuscitate the industry, Kirlin said. The ease that drivers can enter ride share and the adjustable rates will tilt the hire car business toward more part-time drivers.

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From cab to Uber to cab, drivers try to find a way to make a living – Philly.

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