NEW YORK(CBSNewYork) — A growing number of New Yorkers have been following the trail of money, and getting behind the wheel to make big buck.
As CBS2’s Hazel Sanchez reported, it’s all part of the boom in taxi alternatives.
In a sea of yellow cabs, on demand drivers from app driven companies like Uber and Lyft are quickly becoming the trend in transportation.
Lyft said it’s tripled its ridership in the last two months, and Uber said it has doubled the number of Uber X drivers in New York from 10,000 to 20,000 since September 2014.
“When I was told about Uber and the amount of money you make I wanted to try it for myself,” Samuel Nunez said.
Nunez joined Uber in 2013, after being a yellow cabbie for 11 years and making about $35,000 annually.
“With Uber I doubled that up. Imagine, now we’re in October and I’m up to $65,000,” he said.
“You can earn in these months, October, November, December, $7,000 after Uber fees, after sales tax,” Josh Mohrer, Uber General Manager, said.
With promises of good money, no cab lease to pay, and flexible work hours, many former yellow cabbies like Eric Williams started driving their own car for not one company, but two.
“Work two at one time, so I can maximize my earnings,” Williams said.
But drivers said it’s not easy money.
“You have to work more, like fourteen hours, fifteen hours. Over twelve hours you can make that money. If you work eight hours, nine hours, you’ll never get it,” Akbar Yuldoshev said.
Robert Henderson left the foster care industry after 20 years and now drives for Lyft because he said he wanted more family time, a sentiment echoed by many drivers.
“I found myself with so much freedom, where if I get sick I don’t have to call in,” he said. “That freedom is something that is priceless to me.”
With so many people joining the industry, are drivers worried they’ll lose business down the road?
No, I call it undiscovered territory. If I go out to Long Island there’s not too many drivers there and they would need cars,” one driver said.
Industry experts said thousands of new riders join on demand ride services every week.
Mayor de Blasio had proposed a cap on the number of vehicles Uber operates in New York City, but he’s dropped that fight for now.