Some Positive Signs
The City is still in a phased reopening because of recent increases in Covid-19 infections and concerns about the impact from the new virus variants. Despite the semi-lockdown we are seeing some positive changes. There has been a steady increase of dispatch trips from sources that we never had before. We thinks this new source is attributed to the lack of public transportation and the customers lack of trust in being in the private cars of the ride hailing drivers.
The slow but steady trip increases are occurring during the evening and overnight hours which was lost to the ride haling services. People are waiting longer for a cab because in some cases it is their only method of transportation that time. I encourage more drivers to come out during those hours if you have time. It might be well worth it. I believe that s things return to more normalcy that some of this business will permanently return to the taxi industry because people will remember who was there for them during the hard times. At least that is my hope.
Something to Consider
As more people start to use public-for-hire services we have to look for ways to be competitive with Uber and Lyft. We know that we can provide safe, convenient and superior service but pricing has been a major factor that some customers drifted to the ride hailing services. The taxi and public transport services lost a significant portion of ridership during the evening and overnight business and there is some ways we can at least try to win it back.
We have the ability within our dispatch system and is now allowable under Title 31, to offer dynamic pricing as long as it does not exceed the metered price of the trip. We should consider offering discounted rides during the slow volume periods in an attempt to regain the loyal customer base that we lost to ride hailing. It would be automatically set in the dispatch system for the agreed upon days and time periods but it requires a 100% buy-in by the fleet before we can implement.
The New Normal
There is a new normal coming and we have to be prepared for it. Customers have learned through the pandemic that safe and regulated service has its benefits. We installed safety shields and customers came to us for service because they wanted a safe ride. We provide wheelchair accessible service and meal delivery to senior citizens which makes us more of a full-service transportation company and not a traditional taxicab service. We have to collectively promote and take advantage of the diverse service offerings of a technologically-driven and service-centric company, experienced and safe drivers, regulated and insured vehicles, regulated fares with no price gouging.
Time to look beyond traditional taxicab service. Meal deliveries showed us that we are adaptable and it time to expand the service footprint. We must focus on trips. Picking and up and delivering meals, prescriptions, parcels are all TRIPS. Transporting passengers ONLY is the past. We have the capability of being a one-stop service which will be required in the new normal. We have already proved that customers want prepaid trips and easier ways to get and pay for service. We are exploring several technology and service ideas and will share shortly.
Now is the time to move to the next level.