Dear the Five NYC Taxi’s who Refused My Fare While I was Standing in the Rain,
You are the reason why you are losing and no technology can help you if you chose not to help yourself when I am standing there with money saying:
Here. Take it.
I just returned form a 39 hour trip to NYC by way of Denver. I was meeting with friends, colleagues, and new partners. I had been waiting anxiously for this trip for a lot of reasons, but one of them was an opportunity to use Uber. Uber is already in Denver, but I drive myself around when I am at home so I hadn’t gotten a chance to use them yet. I used Uber to get from the airport to the city without any hassle and had a delightful conversation with my driver about his experience with the company. I was not surprised to learn how much he LOVED working for Uber. I was surprised however to learn that he had been driving through the night and was heading home when I requested a ride at 6:30 AM. Guy, thats his name, told me that he was happy to take on another ride because Uber is always worth it, both financially and from the way in which he is treated by passengers. He took pleasure in driving me and I took pleasure in the experience with Guy.
Uber is a little bit more expensive than a cab but comes with a worth while experience. I checked Uber when I wanted to go back to the airport, and because of availability rates were 2x what I had paid last time, so I thought I would give a cab a try to be more economical since I had the time to spare.
I was in the middle of Manhattan. Having just finished dinner and all my meetings for the day - I was going to head to the airport a little early and slow down before my flight home. I wasn’t in a rush, but I did need to get to JFK. It was down pouring rain and I had my trusty umbrella and ear muffs I had bought from someone at one of those stands on the corner. I walked out in the middle of a major street stuck my hand up in the air and a cab pulled up (no I wasn’t splashed).
Where you headed?
(Points to the clock) Sorry, my shift just ended. (speeds off)
This happened 5 times in a period of 10 minutes. No joke. Same excuse 5 times in a row. I’m sorry, but I refuse to believe that all of your shifts ended and yet you pulled up to see where you could take me out of the goodness of your heart - but only if it was on your own terms. I recognize there are fixed costs and rates for going to the airport, and it’s a location that is out of the way, as a passenger thats why I pay you - as the service I hired that protects you and guarantees you a fair shake + tip. I probably would have paid you somewhere around $55 - $60 not including tip.
After my experience I jumped on Uber immediately and booked a private car which arrived before I could grab a bottle of Pelligrino from the corner market. I could watch on the map as my driver, Jorge, arrived, I could call him or he could call me - and the car was mine for however long I wanted without complaint - without hassle - and with the graciousness I would expect from everyone I do business with regardless of what I am paying them. By the way I paid more than I would have for a normal taxi, but it was worth it.
The way I was treated affirmed for me that I don’t care what I pay - I care about the people who I am paying if they care about me. Value + Values matter.
Now, it is worth noting that Uber has been challenged in many cities because of the way in which they calculate prices as well as the fact that they use a mobile application to book cars and riders. Recently, Uber had a victory in Washington D.C. that paved the way for them to operate in our nations capitol and many more cities are working through negotiations to make Uber a reality for their residents. Yet, some cities and cab drivers are resistant for a variety of reasons: policies, rules, competition, ignorance, the unknown.
If you ask me, I would say they are afraid of one thing: Progress. Progress means change, it means having to learn something new, having to change the way you do things in order to keep up or keep relevant. It means more work in some cases and less work in others. But if you really take a look at what Uber has done, it isn’t progress at all - it is a regression back to the time where business was done with a handshake and every interaction between customer and the business is based around one thing: Respect.
The NYC cab drivers failed to respect me. As a long time frequent traveler, and someone who calls attention to those who take us back to small town rules and old world business - Uber gains my full endorsement. They have built a service that I as a consumer expect, not that the industry says is possible and my hat is off to them. It is also worth noting that on top of an incredible team, Uber has done an amazing job of recruiting investors and advisors that have pushed the lines of what we expect before. They are the same people who honestly are the reason I am even writing on this platform, using the technologies I am using to distribute this post, and telling you my story at all. To them I say thank you.
You are the people I will continue to support, do business with and want on my team - keep defining a world you wan’t to live in that respects the people who are going to be living in that world with you. If there is anything I can do to continue supporting your cause, don’t hesitate to ask - the answer is yes. Everyone else will just try to keep up with the Uber pace car.
P.S. Uber - look up my account and see to it that Guy and Jorge get some sort of commendation - they deserve it.