PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Drive anywhere around Pittsburgh and you’ll be hard-pressed to find a taxi — unless you pass a downtown hotel.
Lindsey Kennedy, of Regent Square, just moved back here from New York City.
“I’m in cab shock now,” says Kennedy. “I could get a cab anytime just by lifting a finger, but not here.”
It’s a common complaint about Pittsburgh.
“It’s difficult in Pittsburgh, unless you’re coming from the airport,” notes Josh Cramer of Green Tree. “They have a steady stream there, but other than that, just trying to hail one off the street can be hard.”
Even if you call a cab for a specific time, this sometimes happens.
“We waited maybe 45 minutes to an hour. A cab never came, never showed up,” says Debbie Bobinis of Mt. Lebanon. “Actually, we made several calls.”
But is that changing?
Uber and Lyft now offer ride-sharing in privately owned cars as they await approval by the Public Utility Commission, while Yellow Cab has just been approved for a similar service called Yellow X.
All these taxi services share something in common — the ability to hail a cab through an app.
“So far great experiences, and definitely taking advantage of the new technology,” says rider Kevin Welty of Mt. Washington.
With the advent of smartphones and special apps to call a cab that Uber and Lyft and soon Yellow Cab will be using, the real question is will that change the availability of taxi cabs for more people here in Pittsburgh.
Dennis Potter has been driving cabs in Pittsburgh for 35 years.
“Pittsburgh local people are basically not cab people,” says Potter.
He says most cab-users are out-of-towners here on business or at a convention, and he says Pittsburghers are timid at hailing cabs.
“People in Pittsburgh have to be aggressive. They want to hail a cab like this, with their little finger. They’ve got to be aggressive,” he said.
But with new ways to get a cab, Potter is optimistic.
“Pittsburgh’s a progressive city, so we’re moving along with that. It’s busy,” he said.