July 2018

Are taxis going the way of the hackney carriage?

To the editor,

(Editor’s: The following is an email exchange between industry veterans Gerry Manley and Peter Pellier triggered by the announcement Toyota will invest $1 billion in the ride hailing industry.)

When you get a universal power company like Toyota investing a billion dollars in ride sharing companies, be assured that the taxi industry as we know it today, is on the way out as these companies don’t throw this kind of money around without doing their homework and they have the political clout to ensure those investments pay off.

Gerry Manley

Pellier’s reply:

This is a prelude to the day when autonomous vehicles are fully operational. The major car manufacturers want to ensure they are in on the ground floor, and thus the partnerships with companies such as Uber and Grab.

Car ownership, as we know, is about to disappear with the emergence of automated vehicles. Folks will simply call up a car of choice via an app, likely supplied by the current crop of so-called ridesharing companies. This will drastically alter urban planning, seeing as there will no longer be any need for car garages.

Just think of the ramifications to the car manufacturing, auto insurance, and auto repair industries.

As for the cab biz, it will survive as a niche service for seniors and those with disabilities.

With billions being invested in developing digital technology aimed at automating not just transportation vehicles, but the workplace in general, it’s just a matter of time before we see big changes in the world.

As for how much time, no one knows for sure. Estimates range from 5-10 years, possibly sooner. The fact remains, we are on the brink of a sea change unlike anything since the advent of the industrial revolution.

Within the span of a generation, society, as we know it, will be radically altered beyond our wildest imagination. And there’s nothing we can do to stop it.

Just like the hackney carriage gave way to the automobile, so too will self-driven cars yield to those operated autonomously. It’s as inevitable as the rising sun.

Peter D. Pellier



2018 Taxi News

Are taxis going the way of the hackney carriage?