I think something important to consider right now re: Vancouver Taxis is that due to restricted market entry, the taxi permits are artificially inflated and worth close to $1 million each. The result of this is that drivers pay more than $40,000 each just for the RIGHT to operate a taxi. That doesn't include the car. Or the gas. Or insurance. Or repairs. Just the right to operate a taxi.
40% of your fare goes towards paying the lease fee for the absentee permit holder. So for every $20 you spend in a cab, $8 goes to somebody who adds zero value to the transaction. With approximately 30% going to vehicle payment, insurance, repairs and gas, only about 30% of your fare goes to the driver in wage.
When you remove the cap on number of taxis in a city, the artificially-high permit value / lease rate disappears and that $8 goes back to you - so a $20 taxi ride becomes a $12 taxi ride. And no cap on market entry means more readily available taxis; easier to get a ride when you need one. And then if you share that taxi, your cost may drop up to 50% further, let's say $7 to be on the safe side. And remember, with proper legislation and technology, all these savings can exist while the driver gets paid the same as before.
If you can imagine a future of imagine fleet-managed electric driverless taxis that are both on-demand and optimized geographically it's easy to see how the costs may be brought down further, potentially by orders of magnitudes. It may one day be economically viable to create for-profit innovations in public transit that are both a) far, far cheaper than current taxis b) much faster than most public transit c) even potentially cheaper than Translink public transit
But for the time being, I'm focusing on getting Uber and Lyft operational so we can reap the benefit of more choice. And I'm pretty sure there's A LOT more people that will ride in taxis/rideshare if they were both more readily available and 1/3 the price. Heck, I'm sure more people will ride in taxis/rideshare if they aren't refused service to the suburbs, among other things.
Vancouver has one of the lowest number of taxis per capita on the continent, so you'd think it'd be the perfect place for Uber and Lyft to expand next, but the extremely low limit of taxis (only 588 full times taxis in the city) has led to an extremely powerful and litigious cartel that controls the market as a de-facto monopoly, blocking all new entrants who try to start a new taxi or on-demand rideshare service.
I actually think it's the city's most under-reported case of corruption. It's an industry that claims to be for the public good, but acts entirely in the interest of itself and private gain. Taxis are really just on-demand public transit, and we the public should demand, and get, far better options.
You can read much more on how to improve the Vancouver Taxi System on Benn Proctor's SFU Capstone Thesis, DL-able as a PDF: http://summit.sfu.ca/system/files/iritems1/14007/etd8329_BProctor.pdf