Curb, the taxi App that might save them (for now)


(Preet) #1

While the rideshare, the war continues between Uber and Lyft, and new contenders start to appear such as Fasten. Taxicab companies are not being left out of the loop. Some companies have already started to fight back including local and national organizations. The local ones such as zTrip, where Jamie Campolongo, President of what used to be Pittsburgh Yellow Cab, a company that has served Pittsburgh citizens for over a hundred years, is now called zTrip. This company offers a hybrid approach to Ubers strict credit card policy, by mixing in Taxi and ridesharing concepts in their app, zTrip now allows customers to either request a ride through the app or hail a car in the street. Passengers can pay with cash or credit card, and there are no surge or prime time price changes.

The national applications are also starting to make a hit; an app once called "taxi magic" rebranded itself with the catchy name "Curb." This app is owned by Verifone Systems, which has enough financial clout to provide serious competition to Uber and Lyft. "Curb" is a smartphone / mobile app similar to Lyft and Uber app. It is also aimed solely at Taxi drivers.

The Curb difference

Curb is not aimed at ridesharing companies but at cab companies, or to be specific, Taxi drivers. This means that cab companies all around the US retain their independent status as private companies while operating a ridesharing style app that is marketed nationally. This means that customers can download the app and use it in any city around the US and get a professional Taxi service rather than a ridesharing service.

**Curb Setup **

Taxi drivers must first download the app and create an account. They must also connect a credit or debit card to the system so that online payments can be received. The customer must also download the app, or use the desktop version and order a cab by requesting a pickup point and drop off location. The app will also show the customer the estimated fare and rate of fare as the ride continues.

Curb's Impact

Since Curb is a taxi app, it means that passengers get a professional taxi driver, someone that makes their living from driving and not a ridesharing freelancer that might be full time but is most probably part-time.

Passengers can pay either in cash or by credit card since the app is operated by VeriFone the system can automatically deduct credit cards in the customer's account.

Just like with many taxi services, customers can book a cab in advance and know who the driver is and when the cab will arrive.

There is a price difference since taxi fares are usually more expensive than rideshare pricing, but at the same time, the customer gets a service that is comprehensive, since taxies have special lanes, standing, and parking zones as well as full access to airports.

On the flip side, taxies don't charge surge prices, and their fares only change at night when night time charges appear.

Conclusions

Curb is one of the many apps that will combat ridesharing; it will try to bring back taxies as a viable solution to the cheaper ridesharing business. Hybrid services are already appearing all around the country, and even in the ridesharing industry, competition is starting to appear and will continue to appear.

The only real threat to all these industries are the driverless cars, once these vehicle systems appear in full force, and once customers feel safe traveling in them, the taxi and ridesharing employment sector will die, and all the apps will be irrelevant to drivers.


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