Uber's Popularity Still Lags Behind Taxis' in Miami, at Least Among Business Travelers

A taxi in South Beach.
A taxi in South Beach.
Photo: Chris Golberg's Flickr | MNT Flickr Pool

It's been ten months since Uber launched in Miami, but it's still unclear exactly how popular the service has become in town and how much it has cut into the business of traditional taxis. Today, Certify, a company that specializes in business travel and expense management software, released data that gives an interesting though incredibly narrow look at how the taxis-versus-Uber fight is shaping up in Miami, and it appears taxis are still on top, at least among business travelers. 

Every quarter, Certify digs through its database of business expense receipts and releases its SpendSmart Quarterly Report. It produces interesting factoids, such as Starbucks and McDonald's are the two most commonly expensed restaurants, and Marriott is the most expensed hotel.

However, this quarter, the report specifically dug into the taxi-versus-Uber competition among business travelers. It found that nationwide, 47 percent of transportation business expenses is spent on Uber, while only 52 percent is spent on taxis. (Lyft, Uber's erstwhile ride-sharing competitor, makes up most of the remaining 1 percent.)

In Miami, however, it's a completely different story. Between January 1 and March 31 this year, taxis were still claiming 77 percent of business travelers' transportation dollars while they were in Miami, compared to just 23 percent for Uber. Here's how that comparison stacked up in other cities: 

Uber's Popularity Still Lags Behind Taxis' in Miami, at Least Among Business Travelers (2)
Certify

Since launching in Miami, Uber is taking a significant chunk of taxis' business traveler income, but the damage is nowhere near what it has been in other cities. 

Of course, Uber still resides in a legal gray area in Miami-Dade. It's not technically legitimate yet, but the county isn't exactly enforcing those laws — except in one specific case. 

Uber is officially banned from picking up customers at Miami International Airport. In fact, last fall, Who's Driving You? — an anti-Uber organization funded by the Taxicab, Limousine and Paratransit Association — complained that Uber was intentionally coaching drivers on how to skirt the ban at Miami International Airport. 

"Uber is actively encouraging drivers to break the law at South Florida airports," Dave Sutton, spokesperson for Who's Driving You?, said in a statement at the time. "Uber shows complete disregard for the serious concerns involved in airport security. Uber may be able to pay for drivers' tickets, but it won't be able to fix the records of drivers who incur legal problems. Uber is dangerous and self-serving in the extreme."

A business traveler's single largest transportation expense is usually the drive from the airport to the hotel. Taxis are not hard to find waiting for travelers at MIA, and Uber is technically banned. Perhaps that explains the discrepancy. 


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