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Strike put a dent in cab company revenue

Business fell by more than a third during March for Yellow Checker Star Transportation, the first month of a now-settled two month drivers strike.

According to numbers reported by the Nevada Taxicab Authority on Wednesday, the company’s 411,600 trips with paying passengers on board marked a 38 percent slump compared to normal operations a year ago. This happened even though the number of trips for each cab on the streets rose a fraction of one percent.

The revenue generated by each of the company’s 603 medallions, an operating permit that must be on each cab when picking up passengers, dropped from 34 to 38 percent for the three brands reporting separately. On average, the $11,204 per medallion was off 35.7 percent.

The results fell roughly in line with numbers put out by management and estimates given by the drivers union during the strike, which started March 3. The drivers went back to work starting May 1 after both sides reached a contract accord with an assist from a federal labor mediator.

William Shranko, the chief operating officer at Yellow Checker Star, said a busy convention month helped boost the numbers for the drivers who stayed on the job.

Meanwhile, the industry as a whole saw results fall off during the first quarter. The total revenues of $97.8 million were down 2.5 percent, and the 6.6 million total trips marked a 4.8 percent decline.

Both Shrank and union leaders have said at least some companies have had difficulty finding enough drivers to put all permitted cabs in service. In March 2012, five of the 16 Las Vegas cab brands had more than one percent of their cabs sittingidle without a scheduled shift; this year, only one company stayed below one percent.

Excluding Yellow Checker Star, the blown shift rate ran 3.1 percent in March compared to just 0.8 percent for all companies one year earlier.

However, the 20 extra medallions issued to the 13 non-striking brands have now expired, shrinking their capacities.

In other action, the authority board opened the way for any vendor to set up a live test of computer and GPS-based systems for tracking cabs. Currently, drivers must record all the passengers they pick up and what fares they pay by writing on paper.

An affiliate of Frias Transportation Management called RideIntegrity obtained approval in February to test its system on 150 cabs for one year.

In addition, A-Cab, confined by regulation to picking up passengers only west of Interstate 15, took the first step in lifting the restriction so it can operate throughout the valley, including the Strip and McCarran International Airport. Other cab companies and a drivers union indicated they will oppose A-Cab’s move.

Contact reporter Tim O’Reiley at
toreiley@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5290.

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