San Francisco Develops Cab-Hailing Smartphone App

San Franciscans are currently working on a new system that will allow them to call, track and report taxis throughout the city. It is well known that cab-hailing in SF is another mission impossible.

The city’s Municipal Transportation Agency has recommended a $400,000 pilot program that provides smartphone users with a map of available cabs, and the ability to request the nearest one with the touch of a button.  One company that offers this innovative technology is called Cabulous. It currently has a contract with 400 taxi cabs in the city. The MTA is seeking proposals from various companies before making a final decision, and Cabulous’s proposal includes the outfitting of all 1,500 cabs with the technology, and one year payment from the MTA.

What About Luxor?

Luxor Cab is a cab company which has already developed a system of that kind, and is worried that the city-funded project will ruin their investment. Their smartphone app is called Taxi Magic.

“We want to know why this has to be a no-cost program for other companies,” says Charles Rathbone of Luxor. “This is a business and Luxor has been making this investment willingly for years. There are other companies out there that haven’t been willing to invest a dime into this.”

Jarvis Murray stated that the companies would have to begin paying for the service after the one-year pilot run. Cabulous’s pay structure is $1.50 per shift, so companies would be required to pay $3 per car (two shifts per cab).

Will It Last?

Rathbone then claimed that many cab companies would abandon the service after the one-year trial expired, and that the MTA should invest the $400,000 to improve other aspects of the industry.

Mark Gruberg, a spokesman for the United Taxicab Workers, feels that many cab companies actually will stick with the service even if they are required to pay.

“This is just another option for passengers to get in touch with cab drivers,” he said. “It’s good for drivers and it’s good for customers.”

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