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RE: [newtech-1] Rate My Taxi NYC

From: Glen D.
Sent on: Friday, March 15, 2013 12:06 PM

Hailo to launch in NYC.   CEO was just on CNBC:

 

·         transforming the experience of hailing a cab

·         pay automatically

·         launched in London in 2011  

·         has signed up 30k taxi drivers

·         taxi industry: $2.1B

·         “can’t get to nyc soon enough”

·         “industry ripe for efficiency”

·         40% of time drivers looking for fares while people are looking for taxis

·         deals with drivers directly

·         “social network for taxi drivers”

·         drivers recruit drivers to download app

·         driver revs go up - 5000 drivers already signed up in NYC

·         “waiting for regulatory approval” - mentioned the law suits

·         “everybody wins, divers pay nothing for it”

 

and they have an incentive on the site right now: Be First. Become a Founding Passenger Sign up to earn $10 in Hailo Credit when we launch in NYC >> https://hailocab.com/nyc

 

Also Jessica just mentioned in the March 15th NY Tech Meetup Newsletter sent yesterday:

Speak Up on #eHailApps

If you’d like to see #eHailApps in NYC, now is the time to speak up. New York City wants to launch a pilot program for “e-Hailing” NYC taxis. With e-Hailing, you use your smartphone to virtually hail a nearby cab, then pay using a pre-stored credit card.  A number of other cities are already up and running with it. A group of members from the NY tech community have launched a petition in support of bringing eHailing to the city. You can find our more and sign the petition here: http://www.causes.com/actions/1737801-we-want-ehailapps-in-nyc?ctm=home

TAXI!!!!!!!!!!!! TFIG

Glen DaSilva
DaSilva Digital Productions 
[address removed]
[masked]

http://about.me/glendasilva

 

From: [address removed] [mailto:[address removed]] On Behalf Of Steve Sebestyen
Sent: Sunday, August 12,[masked]:27 AM
To: [address removed]
Subject: Re: [newtech-1] Rate My Taxi NYC

 

This app may provide you some good lessons to learn from.

http://m.yahoo.com/w/legobpengine/news/app-lets-riders-hail-nyc-cab-smartphone-203810148--finance.html

-
Steve Sebestyen
Google Voice:[masked]
About.me/stevesebestyen

On Jul 30,[masked]:13 PM, "Caleb" <[address removed]> wrote:

Good Afternoon,

I'm the "someone" you're referring to.  A couple of comments:


Thank you for responding back to me MJ. I think it’s important that people do understand the nature of my app. I entered my comments in the Bold Arial front below, please take a look.



"There around 13k cabs on the street today, and 25k of drivers. Unfortunately my data is too large to fit within the app, so people will be able to populate my data via internet service."
If you can't fit 38000 records (a number that won't grow much larger than that) into your app, you may have a design issue that needs to be resolved.  Either there's an online database that your app works with, or you can create a (SQLITE) DB and push it to your app in the install or as a download after the install.  The less data users have to enter, the better.

Thank you. I’ll look into other alternatives.

"I want people to have options when deciding to enter a cab"
With or without your app, that doesn't exist.  Yellow taxis are a city-protected monopoly.  Medallions that went for 150k when I was in high school are now sold for over a million dollars.  Medallion Financial, a bank that finances medallion purchases, proudly boasts that they haven't lost money on a medallion transaction yet, and they've been in business over 30 years.  The city responds to the lobbying of medallion owners (who are looking to protect their investments) by not issuing new medallions regularly.   On the rare occasions where they are auctioned off (there was a small batch recently for handicapped-accessible cabs), almost all of them were quickly snapped up by fleet owners.

 A Medallion is the right to own and operate a Yellow Taxi in the city of New York. If the owners decide not to sell, then that’s a choice that they would have to make. Here is the real reason why the medallions has gone up the way they did, since every yellow taxi medallion owner knows that owning a medallion is a cash cow there is no reason to sell. Back in 07/08 when the unemployment rate was 10.3, the value of the medallion accelerated to incredible values, due to the fact that the industry is an unskilled market where tons of people can migrate to work with little experience. That’s what was happening during that period. People were losing their jobs and were looking for other alternatives. The big medallion owners started buying more medallions and drove the prices up, because of the demand for people wanting to drive a cab.   


There is a large demand for taxis, especially since black cars aren't supposed to pick up street hails in New York.  Since there aren't enough taxis, when you see one, you hail it and get in.  The only time I see large numbers of available taxis is first thing in the morning when they're coming in from Long Island City (where many cars are stored and serviced) across the 59th Street Bridge -- that's because they're all starting their shifts and heading into Manhattan to pick up fares.  Do you really expect someone to stand out on 63rd and 2nd or 62nd and 1st punching in medallion numbers, trying to find a "good" taxi?

Yes, at the right time of course. Not all taxicabs start their shift at 5am and 5pm, although majority of them do so. Here’s a way to think about it, when your a cab driver and renting a car from the garage, it only makes sense to start driving at 5am or 5 pm considering you’ll be driving for the next 12hours. The streets are mostly busy in the morning and in the afternoon. The drivers that work in the morning get the morning rush and the drivers that work in the evening get the evening rush. It’s a fair system; unfortunately not everything works 100% to people’s satisfaction.


As-is, it's hard to find a cab after 3:00 or 3:30 that wants to go outside of Manhattan since they're all getting ready to swap with another driver or head back to LIC.  Once 5:00 hits, good luck finding a taxi before 6:30 or so -- they're all in-use, and sitting in traffic with a fare.  If you're fortunate enough to find an open one, the idea of "checking the guy out" isn't feasible since if you don't want his cab, you may be waiting a while for another one.  This says nothing for the quality of the data.  If the taxi was rated before, was the rating for the day guy?  The evening guy? The weekend guy?

 The statement you are referring to is during shift change. Yes, I do believe my app may not be functional during that time period. Although, there are other areas of the city where there can be many cabs in one area during that time period. You must understand the nature of Cab drivers, there on the street to make a buck. So, ideally they’re going to be in the parts of the city where it’s moving. Also, when you’re in a cab you’ll be able to rate the driver by the driver’s name and or License number. And if you want to check the review of the driver, just type the driver’s name and or license number.


If you're in a taxi line (which most New Yorkers aren't), you'd have to count the number of passengers in front of you, then count the number of taxis queued up in order to determine which taxi is yours.  If you read something unfavorable, now you're in the uncomfortable position of telling the guy running the taxi stand that you're not going to take that taxi, which means now the person behind you may not want the taxi either.  As someone who has been at the airport, in a taxi line, when something goes wrong (like a driver who doesn't want to go to CT and an argument begins), you see why many people simply avoid all the hassle and call a "black car" service instead.

 Yes, you’re right about “you'd have to count the number of passengers in front of you, then count the number of taxis queued up in order to determine which taxi is yours”. I want people to have options, and so at the end of the day it’s a choice that the rider would have to make.
And if you’re a true New Yorker, I don’t think your going to care what other people think.



Your app helps to give people data.  But even with that data, they don't have options. Demand is high and supply is low.

Demand may be high at certain times during the day but supply is not low. The city has a fair amount of cabs on the streets. For the past couple of years the city has been condensing the streets and adding more restrictions on the streets of NY, and as a result it’s harder for cabs to get around the city. Five years ago I was able to give good estimations of final point of destinations, now its impossible. And by adding more cabs, will only add more to the city’s congestion problem. The city needs to keep the number of cabs on the streets under control.



"Once you’re in the cab you’ll be able to check the review of the driver and that’s when you can make the decision to continue along with the cab or not. I want New Yorkers to have options; my goal is to set that next level of comfort. And if you do decide to continue with the ride then at least you’ll feel comfortable enough to know your driver will not try to stick you."
You're joking, right?  I can count the number of times I've seen someone jump out of a cab because of problems with a driver on one hand -- and in one of those three instances the guy who jumped out was clearly drunk (and the cabbie shouldn't have picked him up).  At 5:00 in Midtown the only driver-related reason someone will discontinue the ride is because their face matches the description of some wanted fugitive that is on the TV screen in the cab.  Once you're in, and underway, the odds of your staying until your destination are close to 100%.  Most drivers aren't out to "stick" you and want you to quickly get from point A to point B.

Again, you’re referring to the 5pm shift change. If a rider chooses to stay in the cab once the taxi pulls away then that’s a choice the rider will make. If they do decide to stay, they they’ll still be able to write a review of their cab ride experience. I want to set that next level of comfort, where the drivers can actually communicate with the passengers in a comfortable manner. As a cab driver, I often find it’s sometimes hard to communicate with people. My app can set the tone when passengers enter a cab. 



"Also, to address the second point; If you ever enter a cab and the driver does not have their license ID present behind the partition then that’s against the law, and I would recommend you to not take the cab. Also, that’s even a more reason to use my app. Even if the cabbie does not present you with the license number then riders can still write a review under the cab number. I would highly recommend that riders do address the fact that the driver did not present their license ID in their review. Most drivers in NY drive steady cars per week, so it’s ok to post a review via the cab number"
It's against TLC rules, not against the law.  While a driver can be fined (usually by a TLC inspector or enforcement agent) for not displaying their "hack" license, it's a fine from the TLC.  A cop isn't pulling a cabbie over and writing a ticket for this.  As I indicated in my first e-mail, it happens often (like 15%-20% of my rides) but it's usually a non-issue and has no impact on the quality of my ride.  Even the other infractions that people complain about (like talking on the phone) happen all the time and most drivers are experienced enough to where it doesn't affect anything.  They keep their voices low and follow all the other rules of the road.

TLC is owned and operated by the city of New York. It just has its own commission. Its under the city laws, therefore any cab can receive a ticket from any police officer. Cabbies get pulled over as much as other cars on the street of NY. And yes, the police do check drivers. There are countless checkpoints that go on during any given time during the month. Also even though drivers talk over the phone while driving, that still does not give them the reason to do so. It’s a big issue for the city, and drivers who are court using cell phones will get a $300 ticket. Drivers who talk on the phone while driving is simply rude, and it’s illegal. My goal is to build a better customer service experience within the industry.


"Cab drivers most of the time are rude, and sometimes don't listen."
Why are you perpetuating this stereotype?  Most taxi drivers are cordial, and many are actually nice.  I've had guys get out and help me with strollers when I travel with my infant son, one guy once offered to let me charge my phone during the ride (I politely declined), and nearly all of them will follow your directions (e.g. "Take the FDR").  In fact, I've had a couple of drivers tell me that they prefer to get directions so there's no misunderstanding about the fare or the time it takes to get there.  As long as you're nice to them they're usually respectful towards you.  Sure, there are some jerks out there, but they're the exception, not the rule.

My statement was base off the follow article: http://newsfeed.time.com/2010/06/01/survey-new-york-has-the-nations-worst-drivers/. Please take a look. The point is: I want people to share their taxi ride experience. It doesn’t matter if its great or bad, I just want people to share their experience.


I think you have a good idea, but it's better suited for towncars and gypsy cabs, not medallion taxis.  In other metro areas I think your idea is a hit.  Good Luck.

I prefer to stay within the Yellow Taxi Industry because that’s the market I understand the most, being that I am a NYC Taxi cab driver. Eventually, I will look to explore other markets. 


Another guy born in Brooklyn,

Yes! We go hard…


Caleb Alexis
“Rate My Taxi NYC” (available at apple app store)
www.RateMyTaxiNYC.com



On Fri, Jul 27, 2012 at 10:59 AM, Michael <[address removed]> wrote:

I'm the "someone" you're referring to.  A couple of comments:



"There around 13k cabs on the street today, and 25k of drivers. Unfortunately my data is too large to fit within the app, so people will be able to populate my data via internet service."

If you can't fit 38000 records (a number that won't grow much larger than that) into your app, you may have a design issue that needs to be resolved.  Either there's an online database that your app works with, or you can create a (SQLITE) DB and push it to your app in the install or as a download after the install.  The less data users have to enter, the better.



"I want people to have options when deciding to enter a cab"

With or without your app, that doesn't exist.  Yellow taxis are a city-protected monopoly.  Medallions that went for 150k when I was in high school are now sold for over a million dollars.  Medallion Financial, a bank that finances medallion purchases, proudly boasts that they haven't lost money on a medallion transaction yet, and they've been in business over 30 years.  The city responds to the lobbying of medallion owners (who are looking to protect their investments) by not issuing new medallions regularly.   On the rare occasions where they are auctioned off (there was a small batch recently for handicapped-accessible cabs), almost all of them were quickly snapped up by fleet owners.

There is a large demand for taxis, especially since black cars aren't supposed to pick up street hails in New York.  Since there aren't enough taxis, when you see one, you hail it and get in.  The only time I see large numbers of available taxis is first thing in the morning when they're coming in from Long Island City (where many cars are stored and serviced) across the 59th Street Bridge -- that's because they're all starting their shifts and heading into Manhattan to pick up fares.  Do you really expect someone to stand out on 63rd and 2nd or 62nd and 1st punching in medallion numbers, trying to find a "good" taxi?

As-is, it's hard to find a cab after 3:00 or 3:30 that wants to go outside of Manhattan since they're all getting ready to swap with another driver or head back to LIC.  Once 5:00 hits, good luck finding a taxi before 6:30 or so -- they're all in-use, and sitting in traffic with a fare.  If you're fortunate enough to find an open one, the idea of "checking the guy out" isn't feasible since if you don't want his cab, you may be waiting a while for another one.  This says nothing for the quality of the data.  If the taxi was rated before, was the rating for the day guy?  The evening guy? The weekend guy?

If you're in a taxi line (which most New Yorkers aren't), you'd have to count the number of passengers in front of you, then count the number of taxis queued up in order to determine which taxi is yours.  If you read something unfavorable, now you're in the uncomfortable position of telling the guy running the taxi stand that you're not going to take that taxi, which means now the person behind you may not want the taxi either.  As someone who has been at the airport, in a taxi line, when something goes wrong (like a driver who doesn't want to go to CT and an argument begins), you see why many people simply avoid all the hassle and call a "black car" service instead.

Your app helps to give people data.  But even with that data, they don't have options. Demand is high and supply is low.



"Once you’re in the cab you’ll be able to check the review of the driver and that’s when you can make the decision to continue along with the cab or not. I want New Yorkers to have options; my goal is to set that next level of comfort. And if you do decide to continue with the ride then at least you’ll feel comfortable enough to know your driver will not try to stick you."

You're joking, right?  I can count the number of times I've seen someone jump out of a cab because of problems with a driver on one hand -- and in one of those three instances the guy who jumped out was clearly drunk (and the cabbie shouldn't have picked him up).  At 5:00 in Midtown the only driver-related reason someone will discontinue the ride is because their face matches the description of some wanted fugitive that is on the TV screen in the cab.  Once you're in, and underway, the odds of your staying until your destination are close to 100%.  Most drivers aren't out to "stick" you and want you to quickly get from point A to point B.



"Also, to address the second point; If you ever enter a cab and the driver does not have their license ID present behind the partition then that’s against the law, and I would recommend you to not take the cab. Also, that’s even a more reason to use my app. Even if the cabbie does not present you with the license number then riders can still write a review under the cab number. I would highly recommend that riders do address the fact that the driver did not present their license ID in their review. Most drivers in NY drive steady cars per week, so it’s ok to post a review via the cab number"

It's against TLC rules, not against the law.  While a driver can be fined (usually by a TLC inspector or enforcement agent) for not displaying their "hack" license, it's a fine from the TLC.  A cop isn't pulling a cabbie over and writing a ticket for this.  As I indicated in my first e-mail, it happens often (like 15%-20% of my rides) but it's usually a non-issue and has no impact on the quality of my ride.  Even the other infractions that people complain about (like talking on the phone) happen all the time and most drivers are experienced enough to where it doesn't affect anything.  They keep their voices low and follow all the other rules of the road.



"Cab drivers most of the time are rude, and sometimes don't listen."

Why are you perpetuating this stereotype?  Most taxi drivers are cordial, and many are actually nice.  I've had guys get out and help me with strollers when I travel with my infant son, one guy once offered to let me charge my phone during the ride (I politely declined), and nearly all of them will follow your directions (e.g. "Take the FDR").  In fact, I've had a couple of drivers tell me that they prefer to get directions so there's no misunderstanding about the fare or the time it takes to get there.  As long as you're nice to them they're usually respectful towards you.  Sure, there are some jerks out there, but they're the exception, not the rule.

I think you have a good idea, but it's better suited for towncars and gypsy cabs, not medallion taxis.  In other metro areas I think your idea is a hit.  Good Luck.

 

Another guy born in Brooklyn,

MJ

 

On Jul 26, 2012, at 6:17 PM, Caleb wrote:





On Thursday, July 26, 2012, Alexis, Caleb wrote:

 

 

Hey everyone,

Thank you for responding back to me everyone. I really do appreciate everyone’s thoughts. I just signed up to the E-mail list yesterday and I sent out to many E-mails
, so I was placed on a 24Hour hold. To touch base on Rate My Taxi NYC, I have a list of all of the cabs and drivers within NYC. There around 13k cabs on the street today, and 25k of drivers. Unfortunately my data is too large to fit within the app, so people will be able to populate my data via internet service. My long term goal is to create a competitive advantage for the taxi cabs industry. I want people to have options when deciding to enter a cab. While developing this app, simplicity and user friendly interface is what I was looking for. I also included an icon to post daily quotes for user retention.

 

Someone left a very good comment early this Morning, the concern was that too many taxis are owned by medallion owners who purchase taxis for investment purposes. They are not the driver and often lease 2 shifts a day in the car to other licensed taxi drivers. And he expressed concerns that some NYC cab drivers do not display there license behind the partition. To respond to the first comment, my app will give you the option to rate the driver or the taxi cab. If you’re standing on a line at Penn station or at the airport you’ll be able to check the reviews of the Taxi cabs via the plate number. No, you will not be able to check the drivers review until you enter the cab and retrieve the driver license number from behind the partition. Once you’re in the cab you’ll be able to check the review of the driver and that’s when you can make the decision to continue along with the cab or not. I want New Yorkers to have options; my goal is to set that next level of comfort. And if you do decide to continue with the ride then at least you’ll feel comfortable enough to know your driver will not try to stick you.

 

Also, to address the second point; If you ever enter a cab and the driver does not have their license ID present behind the partition then that’s against the law, and I would recommend you to not take the cab. Also, that’s even a more reason to use my app. Even if the cabbie does not present you with the license number then riders can still write a review under the cab number. I would highly recommend that riders do address the fact that the driver did not present their license ID in their review. Most drivers in NY drive steady cars per week, so it’s ok to post a review via the cab number. Also, it’s a challenge that I will face and I know that. But like most businesses, we must find a way around those challenges. As a native NYC cab drivers and rider, I know what it feels to be on both sides. Cab drivers most of the time are rude, and sometimes don't listen. My app will set that next level of comfort for riders that want to express their cab ride experiences. Nine times of ten, if I have an awful experience somewhere, I'm going to want to express my point no matter what. My app will allow you to do so, by sharing your thoughts if your driver does something wrong. On the positive side sometimes riders may forget to write a review, but that will be up to the drivers responsibly to remind their customers to write a review. My goal is to build a better reputation within the industry. And I want New Yorkers to have a choice. If you’re on line in front of Penn station, why not spend 30 seconds to review the cab your about to get into… 

 

 

 

Just to give you a little information about me:

 

I was born in Brooklyn, and raised by my father who has been driving a Yellow Cab for the past 30 years. At the age of 19 I obtained my hack license and been driving a cab ever since. I also helped manage a mini fleet (Corporate Yellow Taxi Medallions) with my dad since I was 19 years old. I am now 25 and I’ve been driving and running the business for 6 years now. I went to Hofstra University and graduated in December 09. I majored in Finance. Upon graduation I worked for Bank of New York Mellon as a Tax Specialist, and a year and a half later I went to go work for JPMorgan Chase as a fixed income analyst in thie fixed income group. I drive a cab mostly on the weekends. I love driving a cab because it allows me to relive stress and I get to talk to a lot of people.

    Thank you and Best regards

 

     Caleb Alexis

     Founder

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 





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