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Saturday, August 23, 2014

A taxi app is not enough to reclaim business

Taxi apps are available for passengers to schedule immediate rides with a click of a button. However, taxi drivers must change their attitudes in order to retain passengers. It is no secret that taxi drivers treat passengers like fares rather than provide good customer service. Passengers realize there are alternatives, so ridesharing services step-in to capture this business. A taxi app is not enough to reclaim business lost after the launch of ride apps.

What are taxi drivers doing wrong to lose business? The real truth is that taxis are still thriving, especially in New York City, a city that racks up hundreds of millions of rides per year. Nevertheless, the taxi industry use the ridesharing as an excuse to influence this transportation service. They want ridesharing drivers to follow the same rules as them, but ridesharing service is not a commercial service.

Ridesharing services are designed to keep drivers moving. These drivers are connected with willing clients who need an immediate and safe to their intended destination. It makes sense that a small percentage of clients depend on ridesharing services such as UberX, Lyft and SideCar to get around cities. Friendly, talented and reliable ridesharing drivers are accountable for their actions. If drivers treat clients bad, tben the ride app company will hear about this poor service.

On the opposing side, taxi drivers get away with giving bad service. They can reject passengers from using their credit cards to pay for rides. They can pick and choose passengers standing on street corners. Passengers who need rides from bars, restaurants and at events are at the mercy of taxis. Will taxis be fair and take a passenger to outer Sunset and Richmond districts? Can passengers expect to have a conservation with taxi drivers, if they are willing to communicate?

There are some taxis that provide great service, and then the rest have poor attitudes. Nevertheless, there are many taxi drivers who are unwilling to do a good deed and this disrupts the taxi industry, as a whole. Taxi drivers honk at cars and pedestrians. Taxi drivers run red lights. Taxi drivers speed down freeways/highways/streets to transport passengers to airports. Taxi drivers harass ridesharing drivers. When will taxi drivers stop this poor behavior?

We understand that taxi drivers have a tough job. It's not easy to drive around drunken passengers. It's not easy to please rude passengers. It's not easy to deal with a small percentage of passengers who may skip out on fares. Violence and robberies are always a deep concern. Furthermore, taxi drivers must pay thousands of dollars per year to remain in operation. It's a grind driving on busy city streets. No wonder these taxi drivers are frustrated with ridesharing companies.

Ride app companies provide a valuable service. Clients can request rides at all times of the day. Drivers can expect to get rides whether it's midnight, noon and/or 8am in the morning. For the most part, ride requests are plentiful, reliable and fun. Clients save money. Drivers make money. Two parties are connected based on innovative ride apps designed to match rides between two willing people.

The main advantages that taxis have over ridesharing drivers are airport fares, hotel rides, hailing passengers, dispatchers that charge less than ridesharing commission, no wear and tear on personal vehicles (they lease), not held under a microscope like ridesharing apps, designated taxi lanes, can make left turns where signs are posted to authorize this action, receive tips, not rated by passengers and don't rate their riders, can submit Worker's Compensation claims in case of injury on the job, and much more.

Taxi drivers are in a far better position than ridesharing drivers. The moment a personal vehicle is inoperable, ridesharing drivers lose money. Taxi drivers can continue to work because they lease medallions and don't rely on these taxis to keep driving. If a taxi breaks down, they get another.

A taxi app is not enough to reclaim business. Taxi drivers must improve their customer service. They must focus on quality and maintain this in every ride. People still have faith in taxis. We see many taxis giving passengers rides throughout San Francisco. Whereas a taxi app may improve demand, the primary goal is to keep passengers informed and reduce cancellations. Lowering prices won't solve the competition issue; it is memorable customer service that can deliver frequent business to taxi drivers.


Good luck taxi drivers on your quest to gain more ridership and remain an integral part of the transportation industry.