Tuesday, June 10, 2014
Taxi Myopia Blues
Let start with the owners.
One could write a fat, non-fiction novel on the short-sightedness and petty greed of the people running S.F. cab companies – especially Yellow and Luxor. But for this article, I'll restrict myself to their opposition to an universal app or Open Taxi Access (OTA).
When John Wolpert first introduced Cabulous in 2010, it should have been obvious to anyone with an entact frontal lobe that, if adapted throughout the taxicab fleet, the app had the potential to both drastically improve service to the neighborhoods and create business for the drivers.
However, better cab service and increased driver income never have been primary motivations for John Lazar of Luxor cab and Nat Dwiri of Yellow. They've made their money by collecting medallions, leasing taxis and squeezing their drivers for every cent they could get. When Chris Hayashi talked the SFMTA Board into granting $405,000 for the development of OTA in April 2011, Luxor and Yellow helped kill the plan. By doing so they set back the development of an universal app (what Flywheel has become) for at least one year, possibly two.
If taxis been giving the kind of service to the neighborhoods one or two years ago that we are beginning to give now, Uber and the other shits would have taken far less of our market share.
Lazar appears to be seeing a little of the light and is beginning to use Flywheel but Yellow continues to act like it's 1986. As recently as a year ago Dwiri was still claiming that the city needed more cabs not a universal app. Well ... he got more cabs. Now all he needs to do is find people to drive them. And, Jim Gillespie of Yellow has had that company develop its own app to go up against Flywheel.
Divide and conquer, huh, Jim?
Next: Myopic Cab Driver Blues