I don’t often use the company’s visibility to voice my position on issues – particularly those that are the cause of any kind of somewhat-public controversy, but the ride-sharing/transportation-for-hire-via-mobile-app issue is one that I think I’ll tackle publicly.
Since the introduction of services like Uber (and more recently Lyft) to the Dallas market, the public has more options than ever when it comes to getting from point A to point B. And options are a good thing. Right?
Without getting into personal views on the free market or government regulation, my main reason for voicing my support for these new services is simple: It’s better for the customer experience. And that’s what we’re all about around here.
For example, look at the new-driver training for these services. One provider emphasizes the importance of opening doors for passengers, using their name, and offering bottled water. Their competitor’s differentiating factor is a pink moustache affixed to each car’s grill, allowing passengers to charge their cell phones during the journey, and encouraging people to listen to and share music. These are thoughtful, purposeful, and well-executed examples of putting the customer experience at the forefront of your business model. Now, I’ve never been exposed to traditional taxi driver training, but the experience I get in a yellow cab doesn’t exactly scream customer service – and certainly hasn’t included any of that stuff. Are there exceptions? Of, course, but the truth of the matter is the Dallas taxi system is no beuno. Just ask the people that live here. And the state of your city’s taxi system may or may not be similar.
Want another example? Take a ride for yourself and you’ll see. Uber Black Car and SUV is your traditional black/town car type car service and your ticket to riding in style. If you’re looking for the lower-priced version of Uber, check our UberX, where a friendly face driving a personal (but always clean and usually very nice) vehicle will pick you up and get you where you need to go. These folks have gone through background checks, insurance checks, driving record checks, vehicle inspections, interviews, test rides, etc. to make sure they’re fit for the job. If you don’t need the caché of the Uber name, try their less-sophisticated cousin Lyft, where you’ll get picked up by a driver sporting a pink Carstache and greeted with a fist bump. Who knows, you might even get one of those creative drivers that have pink (one of the company’s signature colors) LED lighting lining the interior, disco music, and more. I’m not sure how it works in other cities, but Lyft’s coverage is limited to only one part of town in the Dallas city limits, whereas you’ll find Uber throughout the DFW Metroplex – so keep that in mind if you’re trying this out for the first time.
Whichever you choose, I think you’ll be impressed. And with both, at the end of each ride, you'll be asked to rate your driver on a scale of 1 to 5 stars based on your experience. This helps the companies incentivize drivers to be friendly, courteous, and professional. It also helps weed poor drivers out of the system. When is the last time your cab company asked you about your customer service experience?
So… back to the issue at hand: Dallas Yellow Cab Co. says these companies have unfairly circumvented city regulations as a means to operate. They might have a point. I don’t know the rules (and probably won’t look them up, either), but at the end of the day these ride-sharing companies are getting folks to where they need to be for about 25%-35% less (depending on who you ask), and more importantly – they’re doing it better.
So, with that said we stand with Uber and Lyft here in Dallas for no other reason than giving the public a great experience when getting them where they need to go. Happy Lyfting or Ubering. (I have to say Lyfting rolls off the tounge much better).
Make your voice heard at the public forum being held on Tuesday, January 21 at the Dallas City Council chambers (1500 Marilla Street), 5:00-7:00 PM CST.