ACCESS TO TAXICABS FOR UNBANKED HOUSEHOLDS: AN EXPLORATORY ANALYSIS IN NEW YORK CITY

This project was developed in collaboration with David King, Assistant Professor of Urban Planning, School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning, Arizona State University.

Taxicabs are critical complements to public transit systems. In New York City, ubiquitous yellow cabs are as iconic as the city’s subway system, and the city recently added green taxicabs to improve taxi service in areas outside of the Central Business Districts and airports. In this paper, we used multiple datasets to explore taxicab fare payments by neighborhood and examine how paid taxicab fares are associated with use of conventional banking services. There are clear spatial dimensions of the propensity of riders to pay cash, and we found that both immigrant status and being “unbanked” are strong predictors of cash transactions. These results have implications for local regulations of the for-hire vehicle industry, particularly in the context of the rapid growth of services that require credit cards to use. At the very least, existing and new providers of transit services must consider access to mainstream financial products as part of their equity analyses.