Taxi trips drop as ride-hailing companies start up in Las Vegas

The influence of ride-hailing companies on Southern Nevada's transportation landscape has surfaced in the Nevada Taxicab Authority's November statistics, and if you're a taxi company owner, it isn't pretty.

The number of taxi trips for the month is down 5.5 percent from November 2014, the largest monthly decline of the year. Clark County's 16 companies gave 2.1 million rides, 115,774 fewer than in the same month a year ago.

Ride-hailing companies Uber and Lyft are not required by the Nevada Transportation Authority to report trip numbers and revenue. But it's widely assumed that those companies have taken a share of the rides since tourism volume has steadily increased in the months leading up to November. McCarran International Airport and the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority will release their November numbers later this month.

While taxi trips were down in November and also down by 3.4 percent in October — the first full months that Uber and Lyft were operating — revenue per trip was up substantially, thanks to rate increases the Taxicab Authority enacted in the summer. Higher rates and a new 3 percent tax on all cab rides took effect at the end of August.

As a result, revenue per trip climbed 10 percent to $16.45 a trip. The Taxicab Authority also approved an industry-initiated plan to flood the market with more cabs by removing restrictions on previously geographically restricted and time-restricted cabs as well by allocating additional medallions per company.

As a result, trips per medallion and revenue per medallion plummeted. In November's industry report, issued Tuesday, trips per medallion were down 36 percent to an average 651 per company. Revenue per medallion was down 29.8 percent to an average $10,698 per company.

According to Taxicab Authority records, there were 3,050 active medallions deployed as of Nov. 1, and companies were authorized to add even more during the month.

The taxi industry is on pace to offer fewer rides in 2015 than in 2014, but make more money, thanks to the rate increases.

The 11-month year-to-date number of trips is up 0.2 percent to 25.9 million rides, but if the current trend holds, the industry should provide fewer rides in 2015 than in 2014.

On the revenue side, year to date, revenue is up 4.7 percent to $399.2 million for the 16 companies.

Contact Richard N. Velotta at rvelotta@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3893. Find him on Twitter: @RickVelotta