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TLC launches new data portal that shines light on Uber, Lyft’s obliteration of NYC’s cab industry


Fleet of yellow taxi cabs make their way down the street of Broadway in New York City (PeskyMonkey/Getty Images)

The Taxi & Limousine Commission on Thursday launched a new website that provides unprecedented detail into where yellow cabs have lost riders in recent years, and where app-based companies like Uber and Lyft have filled in the gap.

With just a few mouse clicks, the website allows people to see that yellow cabs picked up 16% fewer rides in Manhattan’s Central Business District in December 2018 than they did a year prior, while app-based pickups in the area increased by 18%.

The website allows the public to easily see that data broken down on a map in any part of the city, a process that previously required expertise in data analysis.

A new website launched by the Taxi & Limousine Commission.
A new website launched by the Taxi & Limousine Commission. (TLC)

“This is the result of about five years of significant data collection," acting TLC Commissioner Bill Heinzen said. “If you think back four years or five years ago, people made a lot of wild claims about for-hire vehicles in NYC. We didn’t have the ability to track the claims, now we do.”

Heinzen and his team hope policy makers, journalists, students and open data enthusiasts use the website to better inform their decisions and opinions.

The website was spearheaded by a pair of TLC employees, Nikita Voevodin and Fausto Lopez, who taught themselves how to code while working at the agency.

“Over the past few months we have identified that there is a hunger and appetite for the ability to use our data and work with our data to see trends and patterns,” said Lopez. “You can help policymakers and people pushing the conversation having the facts right in front of them.”

Lopez and Voevodin said they are actively urging people to provide feedback on their project using a form built into the website, and plan to regularly update it in the coming months.