Medford, Ore.- Nearly a month after ride-sharing services launched in Medford, local cab companies say they’re taking a hit.
Tony Cox has owned his company Southern Oregon All Star Taxi for about a year. He used to see a good amount people using his services
“About 15 to 20 (riders),” Cox said.
But over the last few weeks that number has dropped dramatically.
“From feedback from some of the other companies, along with our personal experience business is down between 75 and 85 percent,” he said. “Several cab companies have already closed their doors.”
Cox blames the drop in business on ride-sharing companies like Uber and Lyft.
“There’s just not enough people here to support Uber and Lyft, and the cab companies are here,” he said. “So one or two are going to have to go and if it’s the cab companies that end up being dried up out of here then service is going to get really bad.”
He says there’s just not enough customers in Medford to go around.
“We use to have 50 to 60 taxis on the road,” Cox said. “Now you have two to 300 people competing for the same pool of riders.”
Cox says he’s not against competition, he just wants there to be an even playing field. He says right now Uber and Lyft don’t follow the same rules cab companies do.
“Every driver that drives here in the state of Oregon as a whole has been thoroughly background checked. Uber started operating Dec. 1. They were hiring drivers that day and that day they had drivers on the road. There is no way they conducted background checks on all those people,” he said.
He’s driving 80 plus hours a week just to stay competitive.
“A typical week for me is seven days a week in the taxi, anywhere from 12 to 16 hours behind the wheel.”
He’s even had to get creative to drive business.
“Besides the DUI program I started a few weeks ago, we will also do food and beverage deliveries,” Cox said. “Somebody will call up and say they’re stuck at their office, can’t go down and get a Subway sandwich. So we will run down and pick up their food.”
He’s hoping the extra services and some loyalty will keep his business going.
“Support your local businesses, keep the money here in town,” he said.
We reached out to Uber but did not hear back.
Cox also never charges his customers the full rate. He gives a 10 percent discount to all riders and 20 percent for military veterans, first responders and teachers.
You can find more information about his DUII program as well as his food deliveries here.