A few years ago I was in New York chatting with a cabby. The fellow was dirty, smelly, and overweight but fun to talk to. Especially since we were asking him about the black sedans that were all over the city. You can get in one, trade cell phone numbers with the driver, and have your own personal sedan service.
The cabby completely hated those sedans. He said they were unregulated and dangerous. They were obviously stealing business from the city regulated cabs. Throughout the whole conversation he didn’t say one thing that would deter me from taking the sedan.
I mean who doesn’t want to be in a clean black sedan with tinted windows, leather seats, and a clean driver in a suit?
Turns out I’m not the only one wants this. The personal sedan service in NYC is booming and so is Uber the start-up trying to capitalize on the business.
The company operates in a super efficient system. You text that you need a ride, they pick you up and drive you to your destination, and the price/tip is automatically charged to your card.
Right now the company only operates in San Francisco and NYC, but it won’t be long until it spreads like Zipcars.
That is if it can overcome the city bureaucracy, cab unions, and government law suits.
MG Siegler has written up how the city has slapped them with 20,000 hours of jail time with a cease-and-desist letter. The latter link goes into detail on why the company is so disruptive and threatening to the traditional cab system. It’s a fun read and super exciting for it’s revolutionary prospects in taxi industry (aka make it easier, cleaner, and safer).
I’ll go on the record right now and say that cabbies can be real a-holes. They seem to drive like they own the streets and can do whatever they want. Cleanliness, A/C, and politeness are like a dice roll. It’s as if they have a monopoly and are in need of competition…
We’ll see what happens with particular attention focused on tomorrow’s San Francisco cab strike and Uber’s half off discount during the strike, lol.