Updated: February 28, 2020 11:52 PM
Created: February 28, 2020 07:03 PM
ALBANY - The long ride for Capitaland Taxi ended on Friday night after 42 years. Company owner Brett Peek says he "feels badly for all of his employees that had to be let go," but higher insurance costs and fierce competition from ride share alternatives left him no choice.
"Uber and Lyft killed us a lot, a real lot," said Tommy Bradshaw, who drove for Capitaland for nine years before hearing the bad news.
"That was my bread and butter," he says, "Without that, now I have to look for something else do to."
For Bradshaw, that search began immediately. Within an hour after parking his Capitaland cab for the last time, he was knocking on the door at the Yellow Cab Company, now the only major cab company left in Albany.
"I've been dog this for a while right here in Albany, and honestly, I saw it coming," said Henry Blackman, a long time driver and dispatcher at Yellow Cab.
He knows enough about the business to realize the same ride share phenomenon that forced all other major area cab companies into the ditch is still hugging -- and hogging -- the roads.
"I"m not upset about it," Henry asserts, "I'm not giving up. Uber and Lyft have to come better than chase me away. and there's a lot of us that feel that way. But I'm not going anywhere."
In fact, several former Capitaland drivers showed up Friday night at Yellow Cab. Tommy Bradshaw was just one of those hopeful hacks, albeit with reserved optimism.
"They're going to try to put us in there (to work)," he says, "But how long is Yellow going to last? That's why I'm looking for other jobs just in case."
Henry Blackman seemed a bit more optimistic.
"People are going to need taxis," he says, "As long as we're the only show in town, they're going to call us. We're guaranteed business. That's the bottom line."
Before the state legislature allowed ride sharing companies to expand into upstate New York in June 2017, there were at least half a dozen major cab companies in Albany. Now there is just one.
Copyright 2020 - WNYT-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company