If Uber can come up with market designs that allocate scarce perishable resources in real time more efficiently and make people happier, that's applicable in a lot of areas and worth far more than the taxi industry they're disrupting. It's a hundreds-of-billions of dollars type of problem.
Earlier this year, I had the pleasure of speaking with a Haitian cabbie on my way to class. We talked about, well, pretty much everything, and I was mad at myself for forgetting to ask him for his contact information once I reached my destination.
I was sitting at my desk a couple of days ago deleting spam when my phone rang. It was a number I didn't know so I was planning to ignore it but for some reason my hand pulled a Dr. Strangelove and picked up.
When you swipe your card, the driver has to pay a hefty 5% extra. Why are New York's cabbies paying so much? Because of all the middlemen. A few people are making truckloads of money on drivers' backs.