"I want to do for the taxi business what 1-800-flowers.com did for the flower delivery business," says Jason Diaz in a USA Today article. Diaz is the man behind 1-800-cab-ride.com, an online taxi booking service he started six months ago.
Diaz, who’s also worked as a cab driver, has the service in 40 markets, including New York, San Francisco, Atlanta and Chicago. To book a cab, customers just go online and enter their pick up and drop off information within 10 minutes of the pick up time.
The service seems to be particularly suited for business travelers who can book their cab ahead of time online, just like they would with a rental car. Another bonus is that it eliminates the need to carry cash for the cab ride since customers use a credit card when booking. Online payment includes fare, tip, taxes and tolls.
Diaz sells the service to local cab companies by highlighting the potential for greater productivity and increased revenue. He says 60% of drivers' time is spent "doing nothing but waiting for the next ride, just hanging out."
Local operators keep most of the fare and pay 1-800-cab-ride.com fees for sending them business. In competitive big-city cab markets, the fares represent money the cab companies wouldn't otherwise get.