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In Fare Challenge, Yellow Cab’s Professionalism Stands Out

In Fare Challenge, Yellow Cab’s Professionalism Stands Out

Yellow-Cab-Sacramento-Blog-SNR-Fare-ChallengeOne pearl of wisdom that we’ve picked up after being in business in Sacramento for nearly 100 years is that competition is healthy: It’s good for the economy; it’s good for the consumer; and it’s good for the companies that are competing. There is nothing like a worthy competitor to keep a company sharp, on the alert for ways it can operate more efficiently, more effectively and provide better service to customers.

Sacramento News & Review recently ran a feature article called “Ride Wars,” examining the operations of two local so-called “rideshare” companies and an unidentified “taxi” to evaluate which of the three transportation providers performed best. Although the article doesn’t name Yellow Cab Company of Sacramento, it seems clear from the article and from our own computerized reservation system that we are the “taxi” company being compared.

All in all, we at Yellow Cab found the article to be well-written, fair and objective. It highlighted some areas where we can do better, as well some areas in which we did very well. The most interesting part to us was a sidebar, written by Nick Miller, called “A Fare Challenge,” describing what happened when three SNR reporters simultaneously ordered rides with Uber, Lyft, and Yellow Cab Company of Sacramento. The verdict: Yellow Cab was “slower and pricier”—by $1—“but the most professional.”

All three reporters/customers set out to reserve trips from the intersection of I and 21st in Midtown Sacramento to S and 17th.

Looking back through the log of our computerized reservation system, we were able to identify the initial phone call and the trip in our system. The call from the reporter/customer came in to the Yellow Cab office at 5:07 p.m., and, according to our system, he was placed on hold for three minutes before speaking with our telephone dispatcher. The 5 p.m. rush hour period is one of our busiest times for trip reservations, and we staff up accordingly in an effort to keep wait times at a minimum. The dispatcher who took this call was friendly and helpful; when the customer was unable to provide a pickup address, she asked him for a nearby business and looked the address up for him.

The reporter/customer, understandably, was not happy to wait on hold to book his trip. We might have saved him the aggravation and a few minutes of his valuable time had he downloaded our free, easy mobile reservation app. As Miller wrote, “To be fair, there is a taxi app—but who knew?” We’re working hard to let people know about our free, downloadable app for iPhone or Android devices, but obviously we still have work to do! (Just visit http://www.yellowcabsacramento.com/ and click on the Google Play or Apple App Store button to download the app.)

Our SNR reporter/customer’s trip was dispatched to one of our veteran drivers, who showed up for the trip in a “sharp-looking yellow Toyota Prius,” according to the article. The customer reported “a quick, smooth ride” with “the air conditioner was piping nicely.” The only snag came when the driver’s newly installed credit card failed to read the customer’s debit card, twice.

Despite that snag and the fact that our dispatch time lagged the two “rideshare” brands, there was much in our performance that was positive. As Miller, who booked a trip with the “rideshare” competitor that clocked in fastest, wrote: “Did my driver, who clearly was not vetted by the company, even have a license or auto insurance? How would I even know?”

We’re grateful to SNR and its reporters for their unbiased appraisal of the three competitors and for the lessons it offers for how we can do better next time. We need to do all we can to cut telephone wait times for those who reserve trips by phone. More importantly, we need to let people know they can use our easy, free mobile app to book their trips. And we were reminded how important it is to be sure that our drivers’ technology is working—customers want, need and deserve the convenience of credit card payment.

Just as important as learning how we can improve is learning what we’re doing right. We were quite proud to read of the professional way our dispatcher and the driver handled this trip. They didn’t know when they took this call and accepted this trip that their performance would be dissected in the pages of the local alternative newspaper. But they did what all of us affiliated with Yellow Cab Co. of Sacramento strive to do every day just the same: They did their jobs, the right way.