When Call-A-Cab launched August of 2012, there was no Lyft or Uber. Within two weeks, an investigator from the Public Regulations Commission rang came to my office, suspicious and threatening. But when I opened the website and clicked to the GPS map on my 32″ monitor, and told him all those blue tags represented legal taxis, he loved it and invited me their Santa Fe offices and to call if I ever needed help.
I had a good relationship with the PRC and did visit their offices, and got help from Ryan Jerman, the Transportation Division Director, on some legal questions.
However, when Lyft and Uber entered the Albuquerque market, we were devastated. They had enormous publicity (when the Albuquerque Journal reporter killed her story with an, ‘eh, I don’t take taxis anyway’) and their incredible advantage, giving away rides and by not complying with New Mexico laws requiring business registration, tax ID numbers, insurance, application for taxi certificates, gross receipts taxes . . . well, the list goes on and on, my fledgling business was devastated, our overall fares eventually dropped 50%.
Call-A-Cab had enough of its own issues. I thought that with the right promotion and publicity, customers would go to the GPS map and find the closest taxi and, call a cab. However, the advertising had no effect, we had no publicity, and customers kept trying to call a dispatch number instead of going to the GPS map.
So, now Call-A-Cab’s presence on the Internet is not just on this blog but Google+, Yelp, Yellow Pages, Google Ads . . . and we have two incoming dispatch lines to help direct people to the closest cab, and teach them about the GPS map later.
People are used to Smartphone Apps? Well, Call-A-Cab is not an app, it is a publicly-accessible website with a streaming GPS map showing locations of available taxis. However, not to be left out I had a programmer create a ‘bookmark’ app that positioned a graphic link (favicon) to a regular customer’s main phone screen.
Call-A-Cab is not only equal in visual presence on your Smartphone, it is designed for Albuquerque and visitors. The main page has two main buttons, one for the map and one for calling dispatch, but it also has a menu of links to Advance Bookings, Flat Rates, Airport Arrivals, Public Transportation Schedules, Restaurant Reviews, Apartment Site Maps, and Points-of-Interest.