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Why Taxis Shouldn't Change Shifts and Strand Riders at 4 P.M.

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Data whiz Ben Wellington at I Quant NY has tackled an age-old New York conundrum. It's well nigh impossible to catch a cab at 4 p.m., because that's when two drivers are passing off the car between 12-hour shifts. But is it possible to address the issue in a way that works for hailers and drivers alike? Modeling data about cabs' revenue at different times of day extracted from the Taxi and Limousine Commission (above) show the 4 p.m. drop is real. So Wellington created a new model, with two lines that plot the fare revenue of two 12-hour shifts. Where the lines cross marks the time when the money earned during both shifts is equal—and they do so at 5:08 a.m. and p.m. Taking into account TLC-imposed surcharges for rush hours and nighttime, it turns out the optimal time to switch might, in fact, be more like 5:22 p.m. Wellington has some other ideas about how to tweak policies so that shift changes aren't as inconvenient for both drivers and passengers, and they're worth a read.
· How to Fix NYC's No-Cabs-At-4PM Problem [I Quant NY]