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.)

Surge Pricing Reaps Gain from Customer Pain

Dynamic Pricing: The goal of dynamic pricing is to allow a company that sells goods or services over the Internet to adjust prices on the fly in response to market demands.—WhatIs.com

Ride-Share-Surge-PricingThe so-called “ride-share” services, or as the California Public Utilities Commission named them in 2013, Transportation Network Companies (TNCs), use a dynamic pricing model, or “surge pricing.” Under the surge pricing model, when demand for rides is heaviest, say on “party” holidays such as St. Patrick’s Day or New Year’s Eve, at the end of championship ball games, or during wet, cold weather, the price of the ride goes up.

It’s just business, right? Except it’s not just business… at least not on an even playing field.

Unlike TNCs, taxi companies are and historically have been regarded by local government as a public convenience. That’s because taxis are an important component in an area’s public transit system—they provide an essential public service, just as buses, paratransit vans, and light rail trains do.

Because taxis are a public transportation convenience, in Sacramento the rates taxis can charge per mile are set by the city. Just as your water or gas company must have the approval of government regulators to raise your rates for water or heat, taxi drivers are not allowed to raise the cost of your ride home simply because it’s a busy night and lots of people are calling for a taxi. Doing so might be considered akin to “price gouging”: Taking advantage of a certain market condition to make a windfall profit—something publicly regulated services are not allowed to do.

For you, the consumer, the city’s regulation of taxi fares is a real benefit. If you are someone who takes a taxi to the same destination regularly, you know ahead of time how much it’s going to cost you. You don’t have to worry about getting home by a certain time in the evening or avoid traveling during holiday peak hours. It’s going to cost you the same amount, any time you make that same trip, day or night. If you’re an occasional traveler, you figure out after a trip or two how much it costs to get from your home to the airport or the River Cats game, and are able to estimate approximately what it will cost to go a similar distance.

So-called “surge pricing” is a distinct disadvantage to the consumer, as evidenced by the “surge” of customer complaints from all over the U.S. in the wake of Halloween night TNC price surges. (Read more about this here and here.) Even though TNCs placed an alert on customers’ smart phone apps some were still caught unawares or were simply shocked at the size of the price surge, to several times the usual rates—at the very hour that nightclubs were closing, Halloween parties winding down, and Halloween revelers really in need of rides. Those who were fortunate enough to take a taxi—easy to do here in Sacramento with our free, downloadable app for iPhone and Android—rather than a ride-share car found they made it home quickly, safely and only the cost of a normal taxi trip lighter in the wallet. Not a bad way of doing business.

Scare Safely: Free Halloween Rides Home With Yellow Cab

FreeYellowCabSacramento-RideHomeHalloween2014Sacramentans love Halloween, and with the ghoulish holiday falling on a Friday this year, thousands of costumed revelers are expected to converge on Midtown and Downtown night spots to celebrate. Many of them will be attending the 102.5/KSFM’s Gravedigger’s Ball at the Sacramento Convention Center: click here to find out more!

We at Yellow Cab Company of Sacramento wish everyone a Boooo-tiful Halloween and remind all our friends and customers to party responsibly. Once again this year, Yellow Cab will partner with Berg Injury Lawyers to provide a Free Ride Home for any spooks and spookettes who are not up to driving “safe and sober.”

From 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. on Halloween night, Friday, Oct. 31, thanks to the generosity of Berg Injury Lawyers, Yellow Cab Sacramento will offer Free Rides Home from clubs and restaurants (or from the Gravedigger’s Ball) in the Midtown/Downtown Sacramento area to residences. Berg Injury Lawyers will pay the first $35 of any Yellow Cab fare; if the fare exceeds $35, the patron will be responsible for paying the balance. Please note: This is not a motorized pub crawl… the offer is good only for trips from a club or restaurant to a residence—not from one drinking establishment to another. We also ask that you remove your mask or face covering while in the cab, for the protection of our drivers.

We at Yellow Cab wish everyone a frightfully fun Halloween and a safe one. Book your “Safe and Sober” Free Ride Home with our free app for Android or iPhone, or call us at 916-444-2222.

No Bad Drivers at Yellow Cab Co. Of Sacramento

Yellow-Cab-Sacramento-Good-DriversWe at Yellow Cab Company of Sacramento are quite proud of the people who drive for us—we think they are among the best taxi drivers in the Sacramento region. What most people don’t realize is that our drivers are independent contractors and not Yellow Cab employees. That’s right—we are not in the taxicab business; our drivers are in the taxicab business.

We currently have 104 drivers, including 21 who are owner-operators. Most of our drivers lease their cabs from our fleet. We inspect, insure and maintain each vehicle, making sure it complies with state and city regulations.

The owner-operators own and maintain their own vehicles but have them finished in our official Yellow Cab colors and company branding. We inspect and insure the operator-owned vehicles just as we do our leased vehicles.

All of our drivers must meet certain criteria in order to drive for Yellow Cab:

• Drivers must be at least 25 years of age.
• Drivers must have driven for three years in the United States.
• Drivers must have a good driving record.
• Drivers must pass a criminal background check.
• Drivers must complete an orientation.

All of our drivers, including owner-operators, complete a multi-part orientation that includes two hours of classroom instruction on our computerized trip reservation system, use of our downloadable app, and customer service best practices; completion of the Taxi Limousine & Paratransit Association online course and multiple-choice test, and a one- to two-day drive-along with one of our experienced and trusted drivers.

As a result of this comprehensive orientation process, there are no bad drivers at Yellow Cab Co. of Sacramento. In fact, our driver orientation process may become a model for the City of Sacramento, which is considering a requirement that all taxi drivers permitted by the city complete a comparable orientation. Yellow Cab takes driver safety and excellent customer service seriously. In turn our drivers take pride in the Yellow Cab brand and in the valuable public service they provide in our community.

We are proud of all our Yellow Cab drivers… and we’re always looking for more friendly, courteous drivers with spotless driving records. If you or someone you know fits that description and has an interest in driving for Sacramento’s largest and longest-serving cab company, contact Greig Best at (916) 442-4696, ext. 3023, or gbest@yellowcabsacramento.com. We look forward to hearing from you!

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.