Catch a Ride for Just $5!

Flywheel-Yellow-Cab-Sacramento-$5-Ride-DealYellow Cab Co. of Sacramento and Flywheel are teaming up to offer Sacramento passengers $5 rides—and you don’t have to carpool to get the special rate! Just download the handy Flywheel app at http://flywheel.com/and reserve your ride.

The $5 Ride Special kicked off March 26 and extends through April 6. Flywheel also is offering the same deal in other West Coast cities: Seattle, L.A., San Jose and San Diego.

Unlike Uber, Lyft, and Sidecar, which offer discounts for riders who share a car, any Flywheel customer qualifies for the $5 rate, even if they are the only passenger, Flywheel CEO Rakesh Mathur said recently in a GeekWire interview.

“The UberPool and Lyft Line promotions are great in that they’re so cheap,” Mathur said, “but more often than not you end up tacking 20 minutes onto your travel time to inconveniently share a ride with someone else.”

In order to get the $5 ride, you must book your trip through Flywheel. See you soon!

Yellow Cab & Flywheel Cap New Year’s Eve Rides at $10

FlywheelAppTaxi-400x240New Year’s Eve is among the busiest times of the year for taxi companies, particularly during the late evening and early morning hours of January 1. In recent years, it also has been an expensive evening for customers seeking a ride from transportation network companies (TNCs) such as Uber and Lyft, which typically charge 400% and up of normal fares during hours of peak demand. (Read more about TNC surge pricing.)

But this New Year’s Eve, Sacramentans have an easy, affordable alternative to the “surge pricing” implemented by the TNCs: Yellow Cab Company of Sacramento and e-hail provider Flywheel are teaming up to offer customers a ride anywhere in the Sacramento region for a maximum fare of just $10. Here are the details:

  • In order to get the $10 maximum fare, customers must reserve and pay for their New Year’s Eve rides via Flywheel’s free, downloadable smartphone app, available at www.yellowcabsacramento.com/SurgeFreeNYE.
  • The $10 maximum fare offer is available anywhere in the Sacramento area from 8 p.m. on Dec. 31 through 3 a.m. on Jan. 1, 2015.

“We’re delighted to be able to offer our Yellow Cab customers two great bargains to celebrate the New Year,” said Victor Caballero, director of operations for Yellow Cab Company of Sacramento. “The peace of mind that they won’t have to pay more than $10 for a ride during one of the busiest traffic nights of the year, and the convenience of being able to book their ride through our new partner, Flywheel.”

Flywheel is offering its #SurgeFreeNYE $10 maximum fare on New Year’s Eve in San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego and Seattle, in addition to Sacramento. (Look for the hashtag #SurgeFreeNYE on social media for news and updates.)

Celebrate Safely and Catch a Free Ride Home If You Party 2 Hearty

Yellow-Cab-Sacramento-Free-Ride-Home-New-YearsYellow Cab Company of Sacramento will partner with Berg Injury Lawyers once again during the New Year holiday to offer the Free Ride Home program, our way of helping to make our community a little safer during the holiday season.

The Free Ride Home program will be available to Sacramento customers from 10 p.m. on December 31 and 4 a.m. on January 1. Please keep in mind that New Year’s Eve is the busiest night of the year for any transportation service, and Yellow Cab Company of Sacramento is no exception. Because many of our drivers will be out downtown in an effort to meet the expected high demand, we know from experience that wait times for a ride may be longer than usual. You will have the most success by hailing one of our Yellow Cabs the old fashioned-way—with a whistle and a wave. Just tell your driver you want to take advantage of the Free Ride Home.

Remember, only official Yellow Cab Company of Sacramento cabs participate in the Free Ride program—look for the yellow cab with black lettering and our company name and logo.

Here’s how Free Ride Home works:

  • In order to qualify for the free ride, the customer must be picked up between 10 p.m. December 31 and 4 a.m. January 1 from a Downtown or Midtown Sacramento restaurant, bar, or other public venue and dropped off at a hotel or residence. (In other words, the purpose is not to transport the customer from home to a bar or from one nightclub to another.)
  • Yellow Cab will submit the receipt for your Free Ride Home to Berg Injury Lawyers, who will reimburse Yellow Cab for the cost of the ride, up to a maximum of $35. The passenger will be responsible for any fare and tip that is above $35.

Alameda-based attorney William Berg launched the Safe and Sober Free Cab Ride Home program on St. Patrick’s Day 2004 after years of seeing the pain and suffering caused by alcohol-related accidents in his legal practice. According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, the cost of losses, injuries and deaths from drunk driving in the United States is some $132 billion per year.

The Free Ride Home program is aimed at reducing the number of accidents caused by driving under the influence and raising community awareness about the need to drink responsibly. Since its inception, the program has provided some 9,000 free rides to Sacramento-area and Bay Area residents. (In the Bay Area, Berg partners with Luxor Cabs to provide the Free Ride Home program.)

And it seems to be working! The Free Ride Home program coincides with a number of other community-based programs, such as sobriety checkpoints and drug and alcohol education, aimed at reducing holiday season car crashes, and the statistics indicate steady progress. From December 28, 2008, through Jan. 4, 2009, 23 Californians were killed in alcohol-related traffic accidents and 440 were injured. During roughly the same period of 2011-2012, there were only 15 alcohol-related traffic deaths and 317 injuries, according to the California Highway Patrol’s Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS). Keep in mind that the number of drivers on California roadways has grown over the same period—a 6.9 percent increase in California licensed drivers since 2003.

As all of us go about our holiday season celebrations, we hope you will join us in putting the safety and security of our friends, loved ones and fellow Sacramentans first: celebrate responsibly, and reserve a ride rather than getting behind the wheel if you are impaired. We hope you’ll hail us or call us first, or use our handy mobile app. But even if you call someone else… say one of those companies that charges more for a ride during those busy, high-demand holiday evenings… the cost of your ride will be much less than taking a chance with your reputation, your future, or someone’s life.

Company Pet Played Important Role in Yellow Cab History

Yellow-Cab-Sacramento-Blog-Dog-UnionBack in the late 1950s, our company office was located at 1112 I Street in downtown Sacramento. For many years, we had a company pet, a black mutt called “Union,” named after our company’s previous name, Union Taxi.

Union spent a lot of time in the Yellow Cab shop and made friends all over downtown. Every now and then, we’d see him walking down the sidewalk alongside a perfect stranger. Every few days Union would walk the half block to 12th and I streets, where there was at that time a neighborhood tavern called Rose’s Bar and Grill. Union didn’t have pockets, so he never had any money. But we suspected every now and then that some of the patrons might buy him a beer. My dad went down one time to see what Union was up to, and the bartender said, “Fred, I have to serve everybody that walks in.” Whenever my dad came home with Union, the first thing the dog did was jump out of the car, run to the backyard, and dive into the pool. He loved the water.

Union lived a good long life, and one day, sometime around 1960, he died of natural causes. The Yellow Cab drivers had grown so fond of him, they told my dad that we should hold a funeral for him. So we did. We bought a small casket for Union, and a 40-cab procession carried him out to the Sacramento Pet Cemetery on Gerber Road to be laid to rest. It was such an unusual occurrence that we even made the Channel 10 news. A few years ago, we went out to the pet cemetery, and Union’s headstone is still there.

Yellow Cab Sacramento is now located on busy Richards Boulevard, and we no longer have a company pet. But Union made a lot of friends for Yellow Cab, gave our employees and drivers a lot of enjoyment, and played an important role in the success of our company. RIP, Union.

Yellow Cab Sparked More Than One Romance

Yellow-Cab-Sacramento-Blog-RomanceOur Facebook friend Darla Arreola wrote last week to share a wonderful story about Yellow Cab. Her mom and dad met when her dad was a Yellow Cab driver in the 1950s. “That’s how my dad and mom met; he was a cabby, and she was a passenger. That was 1954 and they married in 1954. I was born in 1955. Love Yellow. He worked there till he passed in 1961.”

Darla’s story is wonderful because it is so similar to my story. My father started driving in 1938 and did so until he was drafted into the Army Air Force in January of 1942. After the war, he went to work for Union Taxi (which later became our company, Yellow Cab Co. of Sacramento).

My mother worked as a phone operator for Pacific Telephone at 14th and J. In those days, Pacific Telephone used taxis as a safety precaution to transport their female operators home if they worked nights. Taxi drivers would transport three or four operators home as a shared ride to their prospective homes and were required to wait until the female operators were inside their homes and safe. Violation of this policy would likely have resulted in the taxi driver being prohibited from working the Pacific Telephone account.

One evening in early 1946, my dad picked up my mother and two other girls who had worked the night shift as operators. My mom caught my dad’s eye, and he asked her out. The courtship was not long, as was often the case in those days. They were married later in 1946, and I was born in December of 1948. I was later joined by two sisters and a brother. My dad went on to own Yellow Cab (and Union Taxi) in 1960. Our parents were married until my mother’s death in January 1994, which saddened Dad for the rest of his life.

Thank you for your story, Darla. It is possible that I might have known your dad. I started cleaning restrooms at the cab company and washing taxis during the summer of 1960. (Not by choice!) My brother and I were dragged down to the Yellow Cab offices, then located at 1112 I Street, and put to work. I was only 11 or 12 at the time, but I knew a lot of the drivers—perhaps even your dad! I guess you could say, Darla, if it weren’t for Yellow Cab, we might never have been a gleam in our fathers’ eyes!

Computerized Dispatching Offers Fast, Reliable Customer Service

yellow-cab-sacramento-mobile-appNot long after our dad bought his first cab in 1946 for the company then known as Skyline Taxi, he was very proud to be the first cab operator in the Sacramento region to introduce 2-way radio dispatching. More than 20 years ago, our dad’s company, now known as Yellow Cab Co. of Sacramento, introduced the first 24-hour, computer-assisted dispatch system to this area.

We’ve come a long ways since then. Today our customers can either download our easy-to-use mobile app for both Android and iPhones or visit our website to book a trip online. The advantage of our computerized dispatch system is that as soon as the customer inputs the trip, the computer goes to work matching that trip with the available drivers located closest to the customer’s pick-up location: no sitting on hold, no dispatcher approval needed to get started finding the customer a ride.

When you install our mobile application on your phone, it will ask you to enter some information such as your name and phone number. Once the application is installed, you just open it up, click on the yellow button to be picked up at your current location, or enter a different pick-up address, your drop-off location, and the date and time you want to be picked up. The system automatically knows your current location via the GPS system in your phone.

If you are at your desk or laptop, you can book a trip right from our website at yellowcabsacramento.com in much the same way as our mobile app. From the Home Page, just click on the yellow and blue Book Online button in the top right-hand corner, then enter your name, phone number and email address, type in the little code to prove you are not a machine, and hit Submit. On the next screen enter the address where you want to be picked up, the address where you want to be dropped off, how you will pay the driver (i.e., cash or credit card), and the number of passengers. You also can check a box to preschedule a time and date for your trip. As soon as you complete the trip information, click on “Save Request.” At the bottom of the screen you will see an estimated distance for your trip and the estimated fare. As soon as you hit “Save,” our computerized dispatch system gets to work matching your trip to the nearest available driver. You don’t need to enter any credit card information—you won’t pay until your driver has arrived and your trip is completed.

On our end, the computer immediately offers your trip to the first available driver in the queue who is near your pick-up location; if for some reason, that driver is not able to take the trip, the system offers it to next nearby, available driver and so on. On the rare occasion no match is made within five minutes, our system makes your trip available to all 100-plus drivers in our fleet. With our mobile ap, you will be able to see your trip status, whether it is waiting for an available driver, or your driver is en route.

Just as our dad was proud to be the first Sacramento taxi company to use radio dispatching, we at Yellow Cab Co. of Sacramento are proud of our computerized dispatch system and its ability to get our customers where they need to go in the quickest, most efficient way. Of course we still offer a 24-hour telephone dispatch service, and our dispatchers are always happy to receive your call. But if you haven’t tried our on-line booking system, we hope you will give it a try!  Ordering a taxi has never been faster and easier!

 

Yellow Cab Is Going Green

Yellow-Cab-Sacramento-Prius Everyone knows that driving a vehicle that gets good gas mileage is beneficial to the environment. At Yellow Cab Company of Sacramento, we’ve discovered that trading to more fuel-efficient, earth-friendly vehicles is also a boost to our company’s and our drivers’ bottom line.

When most people think of a “Yellow Cab,” they picture a large four-door sedan, often the Ford Crown Victorias similar to those traditionally favored by police departments throughout the United States. These sturdy workhorses have the advantage of roomy backseats and good mechanical reliability over time. On the downside, however, their gas mileage is typically about 16 or 17 miles per gallon. Gas prices fluctuate, but, as you no doubt have noticed, the general trend over time is up, and that’s not likely to change any time soon. Higher prices at the pump make it harder for our drivers to make a profit.

Our fleet comprises 114 vehicles total right now, including six that are owned and operated by the cab drivers, and one more owner-operated Scion on deck. Over the past five years, as part of our normal cycle of replacing older vehicles, Yellow Cab has begun phasing out our Crown Vics and replacing them with hybrid and higher-fuel efficiency Toyota Prius hybrids, Scion xBs, and 4-cylinder Toyota Camrys. We just got in four new Priuses this week! Currently we have 26 Priuses, plus two new ones that are not yet outfitted as cabs; 47 Scions; and 10 Camrys. The remaining vehicles in the fleet are five ADA accessible vans, one Mazda5 and one owner-operated Caravan. With these new Prius additions we’ll be left with just 24 of the Crown Vics, and we hope to replace all or most of them by the end of 2014.

The Prius, which combines a conventional internal combustion engine (burning gasoline) with an electric propulsion system, is the best-selling hybrid in the world and gets about 50 mpg, city and highway driving combined. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and California Air Resources Board (CARB) rate the Prius as “among the cleanest vehicles sold in the United States based on smog-forming emissions.”

And the Prius’ gas mileage record keeps getting better. Toyota executive Satoshi Ogiso told Autoblog.com last year that each successive generation of Prius has improved fuel economy by about 10%. At that rate the 2015 model Priuses are expected to get about 55 mpg—good news for motorists and for Mother Earth.

The Scion xBs and Camrys also have helped our drivers cut fuel costs, with the Scions getting 24 to 29 mpg, the Camrys 23 to 27 mpg. The Scions also have a roomy backseat for passengers and good cargo space. Consumer Reports has rated its reliability as “outstanding,” and it’s known as a safe vehicle, winning the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s Top Safety Pick six years in a row.

No doubt in coming years we will see technology improve and costs of that technology go down, and other alternative fuel sources may be developed as well. In the meantime, we at Yellow Cab are committed to continuing our efforts to reduce the fuel use, and the “carbon footprint,” of our fleet. It’s the right thing to do for our families and our community, and it makes good business sense for our drivers and our company, too.

Yellow Cab is Hotel Association Supplier of the Year

Yellow-Cab-Sacramento-SHA-Supplier-of-Year-300x198At the Sacramento Hotel Association’s annual Hospitality Gala last month, I had the great honor of accepting on behalf of Yellow Cab Company of Sacramento the association’s 2013 Supplier of the Year Award. The event was very well done, featuring a delicious Farm-to-Fork dinner at The Citizen Hotel, Hospitality Employee of the Year Awards from each member hotel, and the awarding of $1,000 tuition scholarships to three deserving local students. For a list of the Hospitality Employees of the Year and scholarship winners, and a slide show of photos from the gala, visit http://www.sacramentohotelassociation.com.

I have participated with the association for many years and have appreciated its work as a cheerleader for our Sacramento region and its efforts to make Sacramento a visitor-friendly, welcoming community. Those efforts are good for the hospitality industry, of course, as they are for the taxicab industry.

Over the past couple of years, I’ve have been especially appreciative of the Hotel Association’s hard work, along with the Downtown Partnership, the Sacramento Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Metro Chamber of Commerce, and the City of Sacramento, in drafting the city’s proposed new taxicab ordinance. All of these folks understand that a taxi ride from airport to hotel or from hotel to meeting location may be that critically important first impression a visitor receives of our community. If we want Sacramento to be a destination for visitors, a popular location for conventions and meetings, a magnet for new businesses, we must put our best foot forward. We at Yellow Cab Sacramento are proud of the professionalism, courtesy and strong safety record of our drivers and staff. A city ordinance upholding those industry best practices gives everyone in our business a benchmark to ensure we’re providing the best service possible to our customers and to our city. That’s why, in accepting the Supplier of the Year Award for Yellow Cab, I expressed my thanks to the Sacramento Hotel Association for its leadership and community service.

Our 1951 Plymouth Connects to Yellow Cab Past

Yellow-Cab-Sacramento-Plymouth51-300x200People often ask us about the vintage cab we feature on our website (www.yellowcabsacramento.com) and that is occasionally seen around town at charity golf tournaments, car shows and other community events. This vintage taxi is a 1951 Plymouth Cranbrook, similar to one of the first vehicles our dad, Frederick Pleines, Sr., purchased for the company when he took over as owner.

The very first cab our dad bought, in 1946, was for Skyline Taxi. He added several cabs and later merged with Union Taxi in 1951. Our vintage cab was restored in 2006 and is equipped with a taxi meter and two-way radio from the same period. It is a replica of many taxicabs seen in Sacramento in the early 1950s.

Lots of taxi companies in different U.S. cities have vintage cabs, and we had been talking about buying one for some time. Ken found this one on Craigslist. In restoring the 1951 Plymouth, we did not exactly duplicate the way a new taxicab was prepped in the early 1950s.  In the ’50s, all the signage would have been painted by hand by a man named Nick, who worked with a stencil, a long wand with a ball on the end of it, and paint brushes. As young boys, we recall that it took Nick about two hours to paint one cab. Nick also painted all the Mayflower trucks in town.  Today, all the signage on cabs are manufactured die cut decals. which are much faster to apply and do not vary in quality from car to car.

We say it is “similar” to one of our dad’s early cabs because at the time this car was made the company was Union Taxi. We wanted to brand it with our Yellow Cab Co. colors and logo, rather than those that appeared on the original. But we used the same typography that was used on the Union Taxis, a font that was used on our cabs up until about 1970. We had the decals for the vintage cab copied from this old photo of our dad in a 1951 Plymouth Cranbrook.

The lightning strike graphic on the 1951 Plymouth also mirrors the cabs in our dad’s original fleet. The lightning indicates 2-way radio dispatching, a technology that our company wasYellow-Cab-Sacramento-vintage-cab-300x189 the first in this region to adopt. Our dad was very proud of what was then a state-of-the-art technology. Since then we’ve carried on our company’s tradition as early adopters: We were the first Sacramento cab company to introduce computer dispatching in 1991 and the first to utilize GPS (Global Positioning System) dispatching in 2004.

Since we rolled out the 1951 Plymouth, it has brought a lot of positive attention to Yellow Cab Co. of Sacramento. It has been on display at the California Auto Museum in Old Town Sacramento, and we have taken it to community events such as the Sacramento Hotel Association golf tournament and the car show at Downtown Ford. One time it even made an appearance at a ’50s-themed bar mitzvah at Arden Hills Country Club. Fred takes it to lunch every six months or so.

One thing the vintage cab has taught us about our dad and the taxi drivers of the 1950s and earlier—they had some upper-body strength. The cabs of that day had no power steering, and the 1951 Plymouth is historically accurate in that way as well. Driving it is hard work. We like the connection it gives us with the history of the taxi industry and the history of Sacramento—a real-life connection you just can’t get from a historic photo or book.

Ordinance Good for Taxi Business and City

Yellow-Cab-Sacramento-Taxi-OrdinanceThe City of Sacramento recently proposed new rules governing the operation of taxi services, with the full support of the Sacramento Convention & Visitors Bureau, the Sacramento Hotel Association, the Downtown Partnership and other civic organizations. Yellow Cab Co. of Sacramento is also in full support of these efforts.

The proposed taxi ordinance, which was presented March 18 by the city’s Law & Legislation Committee, aims to professionalize the local taxi industry by requiring that drivers adopt industry best practices and minimum standards for customer service. The committee’s recommendations included, among others:

  • An age limit on taxi vehicles
  • Dispatch by means of two-way radio or mobile data terminals, rather than by cell phone
  • Taxi Driver testing requirements
  • Requirement of taxi operators to accept credit cards
  • Prohibition on taxicab drivers preventing customers from entering other taxicabs and preventing other drivers from lawfully entering a parking space

Some of these recommendations, such as limiting the age of taxi vehicles and prohibiting drivers from preventing customers from choosing a different cab, are simply common-sense measures aimed at protecting the safety and well being of the traveling public. Others, such as requiring that drivers accept credit cards, are intended to make a positive, professional first impression on visitors to our community.

Yellow Cab Company of Sacramento has been serving our region since 1917. Our father began driving for the company in 1937 and became a company owner in 1951. Our family is proud of our company and of its tradition of safe, professional and courteous service. We are proud of our role in Sacramento’s history and of our ongoing efforts to improve the taxi industry. That’s why we support this ordinance. We think the new rules would be good for cab drivers, for taxi companies, for local business development and tourism, and for customers.