Local Cab Company Rolls Out its Own App
Reno cab drivers have been battling those ride-hailing apps from Uber and Lyft for years. But now one Reno taxi company is leveling out the playing field…
Tap an app to get a ride, see where the driver is and pay with your phone…now with taxis. It took some time, but local Whittlesea Checker cabs finally have the smart phone weapon that made Uber and Lyft what they are today. As longtime Whittlesea driver Tim Ledesma told us, "Yes, we've joined the new age.”
Tim has been a taxi driver for seven years now. He remembers what the job used to be like. As he told me, "We always had to listen to our radios. And customers in the car had to hear that '1-Adam-12', and if you turned down the radio because you go a phone call you missed a call." Today...he's tapping screens and taking off for pickups. He had one as we were talking with him: “So this just offered me a trip to the GSR. I can accept the trip..."
Inside the Whittlesea Checker offices, general manager Alex Crosby says, "Instead of the old voice radio, it's now all done through GPS and through computer programs." In just the last few years,he has seen how high-tech is waking the cab industry up. First when cameras were installed to prevent thefts document mishaps. Then with credit card terminals on seat backs for fast payment. Today, as he told us while navigating the new app, “You see the map of the city and the available taxis in your area..."
The Whittlesea app is like Uber's and Lyft's. You can order a ride with the click of a button, or book your trips ahead of time. You can keep favorite locations, and see your ride make its way to you, showing you the wait time and fare. We asked Alex how much for a ride to the GSR. One click and he told us, "It's $5 to get to the Grand Sierra from here. You can book it here right now and have a cab here in a minute."
The new app is not a carbon copy of Uber and Lyft. The cab drivers like to think this is better. Their app does not utilize "surge pricing", which raises the cost of your ride based on the demand. The rates are set with their taxis and they say those rates will stay the same. As manager Crosby vowed, "The price is going to be the same, it's a published price. We keep it the same throughout no matter demand, time of year, season...anything like that."
They still take the tried and true 322-2222 telephone calls. As for the app, Crosby says, “It's going to be a game changer for us." The obvious question left is…just what took them so long? "Maybe we were sitting back on our heels a bit thinking we were the top of the game, and we got rocked a bit on that, so here we are we're going to catch up and I'm glad it's happening right now."
You can get that taxi app on your phone right now. We have the links to where can download it below: