Voice of the Restaurant Industry
Did you know that NO TAXI COMPANY EVER ORDERS ANY DRIVER TO RESPOND TO ANY PARTICULAR CALL?
That's why service sucks. You know what I mean. If the driver ever shows up at all, he may come long before we were told and we aren't ready. That's because dispatchers have no idea if or when a driver will take the call.
Want to know why?
All taxi service business models operate in the paradigm that drivers will always be paid in cash. The cab companies don't want anything to threaten their operation. But they are liable to a lawsuit from drivers who might be ordered to a caller who turns out to be a criminal intent on robbery. Most drivers are hurt or killed in such robberies and they happen all the time.
Yea, I thought of that 10 years ago before any gift cards were around and GPS was new. Sounded easy to me too. Until I started looking into the regulatory game. Most places don't let just anyone start a cab company. It may be regulated at the state level, county level, municipal level or combinations of any two. This is where it gets complicated. Those cab company owners who get permits are then in control. And with that control, they can charge a "contractor" any price they want for the right to pick up passengers. (Remember, they don't want any employees to be responsible for out there).
So now you say, why don't a few drivers get together and form their own company? They have. But charter drivers get greedy. Co-Ops in L.A., San Francisco, Milwaukee and New Orleans have shown that leadership siphons money away. And besides, they still protect the group by never using forced dispatch. And regulators aren't inclined to see new companies form by steal drivers from the existing companies without changes in service. the devil they know is better than dealing with the new devil they don't know.
But hey what about that plastic idea that eliminates liability so then the driver can be forced to go to calls?Well think about it. Why would any driver, already unhappy about his revenues being sucked away by permit holders, be inclined to lose more money on transaction fees and still be happy being told what to do when its easier to sit at the airport? I mean you just can't make them work if they are contractors, period.
But I figured it out. Just have independent drivers who own cars work with a separate dispatch company like they do in North Carolina. Same as before. He who owns dispatch, owns the game.
I am replacing the middleman (dispatch control) with transit. But they will not control the cash flow. We will pay them and they are replaceable. The drivers come to us first because we have the payment system. After the customer pays, the dispatch system can do their work. We simply let them keep more money to get them to clean up their act. They can't have our customers unless they come when they are told, keep the car clean, etc...
Our non-profit supports the people in our industry who just happen to be the best source of business for drivers. And while the system leaves most control over communications and fleets to local leaders, our little card system can be universally accepted by all drivers.
But we have to raise the money ourselves and force transit authorities to play the game. They are too obtuse to realize that the future is cashless for taxi service. You can start by "friending" and "liking" the Facebook page Community Ambassador Benefit Fund. With one system, in one state up and running, many transit people are ready to capitulate. Pay no attention to Cabulous, Uber, TaxiCard or any of the other parasites popping up on the backs of drivers. They simply do not change the way cabs can be dispatched and only add more financial burden to drivers. (well, in all honesty, some cut a drivers miles a bit) But this system cuts driver's out-of-pocket expenses by 60% and brings them into our fold of service levels enough to qualify for the CAB Fund benefits too! If that and the complaint reporting system doesn't improve service then I really don't know what will.
But just to get things off on the right foot I plan to exercise my ability to avoid federal discrimination laws and only recruit veterans as the first drivers. They need the work and are used to taking orders and the money is good. Disabled vets can work from home computers (cloud technology is great). Later, for growth, the service contract stipulates that 'the ethnicity percentages of the fleet must mirror the ethnicity percentages of the community being served wherever possible'. So what? These will be good paying jobs for responsible people. No sense in handing those out to just any group of people who don't share our diverse values.
So come Like CAB Fund, or even the drivers at their page (Capt.Cab). If we get the word out we can start fixing these hospitality problems of Emergency Healthcare and unreliable taxi service soon with a fundraiser. (And someone tell the Restaurant Association leaders, I really think they should fund the whole project. It only takes about $80K to get the first fleet going.