Saturday, April 16, 2011
Back-Seat vs Front-Seat Tipping: A Competition
Aside from the potential problem of glowing cab drivers and the desire of many to live anonymous lives, the major objection to the back-seat terminals revolves around the 5% charge.
According to Director Hayashi, the main reason that she insisted on the back-seat terminals is that VeriFone's studies had convinced her that their prompting system would make drivers more money.
Most cab drivers, on the other hand, are convinced that this is marketing hogwash. It's amazing how firmly held this opinion is. Drivers who have never even seen the back-seat units, swear that they won't work.
Almost every driver I've talked with tells me that they already get great tips because they have wonderful personalities and are unusually good looking. But, so far, I haven't found a single driver who has records to back this up. I include myself in this category. I'm hot and charming - yet I don't have any numbers to prove the effects of my dynamic personality.
And, even if I did have the numbers, who is to say that I wouldn't do even better with a back-seat terminal?
I called up Hansu Kim, President of Desoto Cab and VeriFone consultant, and suggested that he have a competition with, say, Green Cab to prove that the back-seat terminals are better.
Kim enthusiastically embraced the idea, saying that he "would make a bet with me that Green would put in the PIM units when they fully realized that their drivers would make more money."
I then went over to Green Cab, where I work, and asked Mark Gruberg what he thought of the idea. Mark said that he'd already been thinking about something along those lines and was eager for the contest.
To clarify: the contest would be whether the front-seat or the back-seat terminals prompt a higher tipping percentage.
I think that Kim and Gruberg should be working out the details soon.
Let the competition begin!