WHY READ THIS?
Six weeks ago I filed a response to Hinter-NM’s (Uber) motion to the NMPRC for a rehearing on rule changes.
Basically, I informed the PRC that Uber’s GPS logistical advantage was not based on an advanced technological platform (innovation), but an organized saturation of a territory with illegal ‘gypsy’ taxis.
You see, that is Uber’s legal argument, based on a Supreme Court decision back in the 1800’s, that innovation supersedes government franchise.
So, does Uber deserve to have its illegal taxis legitimized by changing the law?
I proposed Uber’s argument was rendered invalid; my ‘proof’ being Call-A-Cab’s GPS platform had equal logistics plus superior access essential for true public conveyance, but relied on legal taxis. Two years of field testing and customer response proves this is true.
The filing also included former Director of Transportation Division Ryan Jerman’s memo that under existing law, taxi companies could incorporate driver-owned luxury vehicles.
Therefore, there is no need for rule changes downgrading Motor Carrier Act safety regulations just to accommodate one company who couldn’t figure out how to do it legally; and, especially for a company organized to monopolize that category of transportation business to the detriment of taxi service in Albuquerque.
Call-A-Cab can do what Uber does, and legally. However, if we don’t DEMONSTRATE this in real time, the argument above is merely academic. That is why Call-A-Cab is free to drivers, free tracking and being part of all the advertising, free. We need to demonstrate Call-A-Cab can equal if not exceed Uber’s logistics.
However, the number of drivers on the GPS map is CRITICAL because if we don’t have enough drivers to handle increased demand from ramped up advertising and promotion, customers accessing the GPS map won’t find any available taxis, which is only acceptable, briefly, during occasional peak demand periods.
OUR LAST CHANCE
Call-A-Cab was launched August 6, 2013. Nine months later, Lyft and Uber entered the Albuquerque market. We had the advantage, and still do, but that window is about to be shut and the door barred.
There has been a continuing orchestrated media attack against taxis opening the way for Lyft and Uber to become popular alternative to ordering a taxi. Hell, we saw a new one in the Albuquerque Journal just last week.
The battle has also been going on through lobbyists and lawyers. However we, as legal taxi drivers, have lost almost every step of the way.
We lost when three PRC commissioners decided to ignore the law and ‘table enforcement.’
Just last March we lost unanimously in the NM House, and if it wasn’t for a letter I wrote to a state senator who taught my Business Organization class back in 2004, the TNC Act would have passed in the Senate too and Lyft and Uber would now be legal entities.
The battle is not won but is continuing; in the streets, the newspapers, and the courts. Uber ramped up its Albuquerque operations, openly advertising for more drivers in order to saturate their market penetration, illegally, with the plan to become so entrenched lawmakers would be forced to ‘legalize’ them.
Uber has filed in the NM Supreme Court and the NMPRC for reconsideration of PRC rule changes outside the Motor Carrier Act, rules making their current business model legal . . . and . . . making local competition with them next to impossible.
I predict the NM Supreme Court will order the NMPRC to schedule a Rehearing for Rule Changes; and the current NMPRC is even more supportive of Uber.
So, we have one last chance to kill Uber. But, we have to work together as an unofficial Association of Independent Contract Taxi Drivers.
WHAT TO DO
Call-A-Cab works. Customers say we come up first in Google Search, and some say they call us second or third after trying other numbers, pleased not to be put on hold. Some even are attracted directly to the GPS map and call the closest cab. Yes, it does happen and I know because I keep one smartphone line dedicated to calls from the map, and map only.
Free Advertising for You
Call-A-Cab is at the top of Google AdWords, Map Results, and often takes up half the ‘organic’ listings on Page One. And that includes being #1 in yp.com, taxifarefinder.com and being the company AAA calls when a traveler breaks down one hundred miles from Albuquerque.
However, we need one final push to make Call-A-Cab a ‘brand,’ just as Uber has done. But I don’t dare do that until enough drivers have signed up for being tracked on the map to handle that kind of demand.
I need a dozen day drivers, and at least eighteen night drivers to start. With the breakup of the cab companies when the Motor Carrier Act was revised in 2013, no one cab company can provide that number of drivers. So, Call-A-Cab wants to represent all the best Independent Contract drivers in Albuquerque, no matter what company you work for.
And that is a good thing, being able to separate ourselves from the ‘old taxi’ business model and embrace the new . . . and, by the way, Call-A-Cab when used as designed can be faster and easier to use than Uber.
Once the right number of drivers are subscribed (free) and train themselves to use the simple ‘in/out’ button, I can go to the Albuquerque Journal and KKOB-AM and respond to the Uber controversy, saying that ‘We did it First and Can Do it Better.’
If this ‘last chance’ campaign is successful, the Rule Changing Hearings in the NMPRC stand a good chance of failing.
CAN CALL-A-CAB DO THIS?
If we have enough drivers, yes.
When I first started Call-A-Cab, about a dozen drivers signed up and about October, before Thanksgiving, the Albuquerque Journal sent a reporter to write an article. She was resistant and commented, ‘I only see six taxis on the map. Anyway, I don’t take taxis.’ And she killed the article. And that was before Lyft and Uber exploded into the market May of 2014.
So, the Albuquerque Journal editors know about Call-A-Cab.
Last year, the Journal published the Guest Opinion, ‘Street Fight,’ which included my article they titled, ‘Need a lift? Call a Cab not a Lyft.’ In the adjoining column, they printed the opposing opinion written by two ‘Startup Community Facilitators’ representing Lyft and Uber, explaining how Uber was a boost for the public and the economy.
Again, the Albuquerque Journal knows about Call-A-Cab and talk radio is always looking for the latest controversy to fill air time.
Download the Call-A-Cab tracking app at:
Apple iPhones won’t accept the program as it conflicts with iOS battery saving power management. I recommend Apple users to wait, or get a cheap Android as a second tracking/business line. Many drivers already use two lines for a variety of good reasons.