The City has reopened and we are in full business resumption mode. Drivers are returning slowly and trips are close to pre-pandemic levels. The demand for service is clearly greater than the the current in-service drivers can handle. We are directly contacting each inactive driver to determine their return status and when we may expect them back in service. There is clearly an opportunity for the taxicab industry to reestablish itself as a stable and viable transportation service entity. We should not miss this golden opportunity. I would ask you to encourage your fellow drivers to return to service but only when they feel safe to do so. In the meantime those of you providing service please take all necessary precautions to remain safe and well.
We are seeing trip increases during morning, mid-day and afternoon rush hours. Even the overnight hours have seen increases but not enough drivers out operating during those times. We believe these trip increases are a direct result of surge pricing by the ride-hailing services. A number of passengers riding with Yellow have remarked that they were not aware that the company was so technology-driven and can request a ride through a live-call, by automated phone, on a mobile app or through the web and get picked up within 5 - 8 minutes most times. This level of service is very competitive with and in some instances exceed the ride-hailing service. They are also very complimentary about the safe and excellent service provided by you, our associated drivers. Thank you!
There is a heavy demand for service during the first of the month and every morning from 8AM to 10PM across the river in Zones 4EA, 4EB, 3F, 3G, 4F, 4G and 5A. In the evening we see the reverse trend in 2BC (50, 106, 110 Irving), 3AB (3800 Reservoir) and 3B - 4CB in Upper Northwest DC. We had a very strong presence in those areas before ride-hailing took over in those zones. Well the demand for taxicab service is rising in those areas and we need to respond. Drivers can make a decent income just working out of the noted areas and timeframes.
There is a growing need for more drivers of wheelchair accessible vehicles. The demand for this critical service is rising with the aging of the baby boomers and not enough drivers showing interest in this area. We provide a discounted rent or dispatch fee for drivers willing to provide this service plus some of the grant programs provide a per-trip incentive fee. If you know any driver who may own one of these vehicles and may be interested in joining us please encourage them to do so.
We see the reluctance of drivers to accept follow-on trips especially during the heavy afternoon DC rush hour. The dispatchers have been instructed to not stretch drivers but to offer follow-on trips that are close to or at the destination of the en-route trip. They should not offer a second follow-on unless the first follow-on trip accepted the driver is a very short ride. To reduce no-shows we are sending text messages to non-account trips under dispatch after 10 and 20 minutes with an option for them to cancel if they cannot wait. We are calling late account trips after 10-minutes to let them know we are still working on getting a driver to accept the ride. Hopefully all of these efforts will decrease the number of no-shows you experience.
The New Normal
The pandemic has shown that the taxicab industry plays a vital role in the City's transportation delivery system and is here to stay. During the pandemic Yellow served its senior clients through Senior MedEXpress, a diverse group of clients through Transport-DC and Metro Access clients through Abilities-Rides. Yellow also took on Meal Delivery service to seniors starting March 2020 and still in-service. These are clear examples on how adaptive, enduring and critical taxicab service is to the residents and visitors to the City.
The new normal will require us to innovate and operate as a -service-centric and fully functional transportation company. The programs mentioned before provided stability during the tough times and will be there as we emerge to the new normal. We recognize that there may be several new opportunities to explore but our first priority must be to those who have been there and greatly depend on us for their daily transportation needs.