For a variety of factors – from the popularity of ride-sharing services to more housing being built near Metrorail stations to the ongoing COVID pandemic – the overall fleet of taxicabs in Fairfax County has fallen by more than two-thirds in recent years.
The Board of Supervisors, in a biennial decision taken on odd-numbered years, voted unanimously Dec. 6 not to issue any additional taxicab certificates this year and keep the limit at the current 654. The decision was recommended by the Consumer Protection Commission.
The decline in taxi services has been on the county’s radar screen since at least 2015. The last time supervisors increased the number of taxicab certificates was in 2013.
County staff in April 2018 informed supervisors that because of increasing popularity of transportation-network companies (ride-sharing services) such as Uber and Lyft, taxicab operators had relinquished 201 cab certificates since 2016, bringing the overall fleet down to 453 cabs.
Significant reductions have followed since then. Cab companies operated 368 taxis in 2019, 280 in 2020 and renewed just 170 this year. Broken down by company, Fairfax Yellow Cab (Murphy Bros. Inc.) had 90 certificates this year, White Top Cab (King Cab Co. Inc.) had 40, Springfield Yellow Cab (Paul Wallace Management Inc.) had 30, Fairfax Red Top (Fairfax Taxi Inc.) had 10. EnviroCab, which had 39 certificates in 2016, has had none for the past five years.
According to county staff’s Taxicab Demand Formula and Analysis, completed this October, demand for cabs had dropped by about 53 percent since the last analysis. While population increased 4.92 percent, the number of trips per certificate fell 88 percent.