New York, NY—In the wake of the rise of ride-hail service Uber, which has since expanded to other cities, the taxi industry is bracing for competition.
Uber Technologies Inc. is in talks to acquire rival Taxi for America, a subsidiary of the nation’s largest cab company, according to people familiar with the matter.
Taxi for American is focused on the delivery of car-sharing services and Uber is looking to buy out a major competitor, the people said.
Uber and Taxi for Americans have yet to announce a deal.
Uber is also working to acquire other transportation companies, such as a ride-sharing startup, a person familiar with these talks said.
A representative for Uber did not respond to a request for comment.
The new industry of ride sharing is being fueled by an industry of drivers who are being pushed out by the cost of fuel and the loss of drivers as they move to more urban centers.
In San Francisco, Uber is expanding its service to operate as a self-driving car company, which will offer a similar ride-to-drive experience to Uber’s own.
Uber has also expanded its service in San Jose, California, and in Portland, Oregon.
The companies said in December they would combine to create a new competitor, but have not said when they might do so.
Uber also said it would create a transportation network for self-serve cars, and that it would offer its own self-service car service by 2021.
Uber’s acquisition of Taxi for Ameria is a major development for the industry, which is expected to see an increase in ridership as drivers seek cheaper transportation and the ability to compete with Uber and other ride-service companies.
In a report this week, The Wall Street Journal reported that taxi companies in cities such as San Francisco and New York were scrambling to compete against Uber.
In the United States, the number of ride service and self-drive car operators has grown to more than 5 million in 2015 from 2 million in 2014, according a report by the National Automobile Dealers Association.
The industry has also become increasingly competitive, with more than half of all drivers on U.S. roads being self-employed.
Uber has faced criticism over the way it handles drivers.
Its drivers often have no formal background checks and are paid by the hour, rather than commission, to pick up passengers.
Its business model also often allows it to hire a lot of drivers, despite regulations that require all companies to hire drivers at least 25% of their full-time workforce.
Uber says it is working to increase the number and type of drivers it hires.
The company is also launching a new program in the United Kingdom that gives drivers access to free Uber cars, though it did not elaborate.
Travis Kalanick, Uber’s CEO, said in a statement that the new company would “work to create more opportunities for drivers to work from home.”
Kalanick said Uber’s fleet will expand to 10,000 self-driven vehicles and that more than 1,000 Uber drivers will be added to the program, a first for the taxi and car-share industry.
Klanick said the company is committed to building a global workforce, adding, “This is our vision.”
Uber also said in the statement that it plans to introduce an app for drivers that will let them easily search and book their own trips.
Uber currently has no app for self drive vehicles.
Cabbies say Uber drivers have little choice but to accept Uber’s fares, which can be much higher than the prices of the local taxis, even with discounts.
At the moment, Uber drivers are not allowed to accept other ride services.
“If you don’t have a ride, you’re stuck in the middle of nowhere,” said Michael McConkey, a veteran cab driver in Chicago who has worked for Uber for more than a decade.
“It’s a horrible deal.”