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Beyond that, though, they don't have much to stand on. Saying that Lyft is taking money out of the mouths of cabbies isn't very convincing, nor is the argument that taxis are maintained to exacting standards. (Have you ridden in a cab lately?)
Don't get us wrong: we love taxis. In places like Manhattan, they're a convenient and quick way to get around.
Outside a city's commercial center, though, it can be a very different story. (Ever tried to flag down a cab in the Bronx?) In decentralized cities like Atlanta, where things are very spread out, travelers have to know the number of at least one taxi service if they need a ride on the fly.
Simply put, cab companies have to adapt. Most still seem like they're run the same as they were in the 1970s TV series Taxi, which explains why gypsy cabs still roam the streets, even with today's stringent laws against them. The problem is only going to get worse, as apps like Lyft give anyone with a smartphone and a set of wheels the opportunity to participate in an ad hoc cab company.
If cab companies evolve, leveraging the power of apps and social media, they can remain viable and potentially cut down on city-dwellers' need to own cars. If not, start-ups from Uber to Zipcar are likely to run them down.