Luckily the excellent public transport makes up for it. But there are still many scenarios where Uber is a welcome addition.
A 10 min drive can easily cost you $40 - and lots of people do take the taxi when going out / downtown during weekends. Even more so when they're heading back home.
We do have public transportation, like night busses that drive every 30 / 60 mins, and through the most populated routes.
But still, we do have pirate / illegal taxis. Basically young adults that will drive you wherever for half the price what a taxi would take.
But yeah, it feels that we simply use taxis a lot less over here. It's mostly traveling people, older folks that aren't mobile enough, and similar.. and of course the hordes of people going to and from downtown during weekends.
People are very good at using public transportation.
The drivers were always nice and friendly. Their vehicles were clean. They arrived on time and got me to work when otherwise I would have been biking or walking for hours.
Those guys earn their money. I tipped them well. I wouldn't Uber to work forever because it is costly, but I absolutely loved ubering while my car was in the shop.
Uber solves that.
I live in Queens in a great neighborhood and cabs have "forgot" how to get here more than once. They don't like it because they have a lower chance of a return fare.