Henry S. Farber, an economist at Princeton, has performed an exhaustive study of NYC’s taxi data and weather patterns over the last four years and he thinks the research has produced a pretty good explanation for why it’s so hard to get a cab in the rain.
Using a small subset of the enormous amount of data, Farber has shown that taxi occupancy increases by 4.8% when it is raining — no surprise. What is surprising, however, is that the supply of cabs falls 7.1%.
There a few theories as to why that is, but Farber’s data shows that even though there is more demand for a lift when it’s raining, traffic slows down at the same time, so profits flat-line. He tells New York Magazine that there are more factors involved including, “accumulated hours, accumulated income, time of day, day of week, location in the city, etc.,” but he’s extremely practical about the number one probable cause:
Cabbies just find it unpleasant to drive in the rain.