"Years ago you could work just eight or nine hours and make the money you need," Morocho said. "These days we’re not able to make enough money to pay our bills, our mortgage, working 12 hours a day, most of the time seven days a week.”
Even if they're not leaving to drive for Uber, many taxi drivers are still embracing a digital approach with credit card terminals and apps like Curb. More than 100,000 drivers now use Curb, which lets riders hail a professional taxi driver from an app similar to Uber's.
But Curb isn't looking disrupt the market, rather it wants to make the existing taxi industry more accessible.
"People focus on the future because it’s exciting. But there’s a lot of really important work that’s done by literally the dirty, greasy vehicles that turn the streets,” said Jason Gross, vice president of mobile at Curb.
"It’s gritty work in some cases, it doesn’t necessarily drive $60 million valuations for a mom and pop taxi operation in Columbus, Ohio, but it really serves an important role."
Tensions are heating up in the ride-hailing space. Companies like Uber and Lyft are facing a number of legal battles and a handful of states are putting pressure on gig economy companies to classify their workers as employees. But as it stands now, ride-hailing drivers can still do their thing. Meanwhile, taxi cab drivers are struggling to stay afloat, and a ride is just a tap away.