The 3 X’s of Success: Take a long look in the mirror, and don’t be afraid to examine yourself - down to the core. Once you TRULY know yourself, you won’t be a copy of someone else or allow your surroundings to influence who you become. P. S. Go look up xenomorphic and let it marinate, I promise it will bless you!
In my profession, I do a lot of travel. And because of that, I pay attention to everything that is travel related when I am in another destination. On a recent trip to a conference, I used the ride-sharing service Uber to get around the city, because taxis were not readily accessible. It was then on my Uber ride, that I decided to write this post comparing taxi service against a shared economy transportation service, which in my case was Uber.
Legally speaking, I realize that taxis have issues with these new ride sharing services for several reasons. And there reasons are valid. From regulatory issues and insurance to rates and fares, Uber currently does not have to operate the same way a taxi cab company does, although they provide the same services. And that is at the center of the numerous lawsuits that Uber is facing…but lawsuits aside, let’s get back to the issue I want to discuss - the dated transaction system of the taxi.
The area where Uber and other ride-sharing services are superior is that they have adjusted to the times of today’s consumer/traveler. With Uber, all transactions are handled in “the cloud”, and no hand-to-hand exchange of money is required. If you’ve never used Uber, it’s simple. You can request a ride through the mobile app, input your destination to get an estimate of the fare before you take the ride and you can see who your driver is, along with when they are in route, their photo, their vehicle and license plate. Once the ride is over, you just get out, say thank you and rate your experience. The driver is paid through the app with the form of payment you input when you set up your account.
With taxis, it’s not that seamless. Oftentimes, you can’t find one when you need one, or they will just drive right past you. Then when you do get one, they get an attitude when you pay by card. I mean, who REALLY carries that much cash on them when they travel? They also make excuses that their machine is broke, and I’ve even had them drive off in my face when I mention the words “I’m paying by card”. With taxis it also takes an extra 5-10 minutes to print receipts and sign. You can’t rate the driver or the experience, and their cars are usually dirty and stinky.
MY TAXI EXPERIENCE.
When I was at this conference, the taxi driver picked me up from the airport to take me to my hotel. When I arrived at the hotel, I gave him my credit card and he said “You don’t have cash?”, to which I thought money is money, bruh! He then said, “I wish you would’ve told me?”, and I responded with, “You should’ve asked me!” He then started making excuses about how his machine hasn’t been working and hasn’t been taking credit cards all day. To which I said, “That’s not my problem.” I then told him he could either scan my card, call it in to the main office or I can just get out without paying. To my surprise, the transaction went through seamlessly.
MY UBER EXPERIENCE.
While at this conference, I also used Uber to get around the city. I opened up the app to request a pick-up. The driver’s ETA was 5 minutes, but after those 5 minutes passed, I looked at the map in the app and saw that the driver wasn’t getting any closer to me, matter of fact, the car hadn’t moved. Within the app, I was able to contact the driver, but before I could call, he called me to deeply apologize and told me that his system just crashed and that I needed to request a new driver. I was able to do that and within 5 minutes I had another driver there to pick me up. His car was spotless and he was a pleasant person to chat with, as he was a true local. He dropped me off and even gave me a voucher for some free future rides on Uber.
THREE WAYS TAXIS CAN ADJUST TO TODAY’S TRAVELER.
I am not sure if it makes sense for taxis to jump into the on-demand service like Uber, because I am not confident that travelers would download and use an app in every city they visit. However, there are some other ways that taxis can make their transaction process easier for travelers.
1. Only have flat rate fares. If I could get in the taxi and tell you I’m going downtown, and it is a flat rate of $10, then I can swipe my card as soon as I get in or while we are in route. That eliminates me having to wait to get to my destination for your machine to calculate and print out a receipt that I have to sign.
2. Provide transaction screens in the back seat to where I can swipe, sign and email my receipt as opposed to waiting on a machine and getting a paper copy, that I might eventually lose.
3. Equip all taxi drivers with the Square app or some other mobile payment option that works at all times in all vehicles.
4. Develop round trip tickets to where I can purchase taxi rides like I would attraction tickets and then give them to the driver when I get in. The taxi company would then get all the money up front.
What do you think about taxis and the shared economy, which one do you prefer?