Mobile apps are proving to be a boon for Wisconsin cab companies. But, they are also creating competition for taxi drivers.
John McNamara is a business manager for Union Cab Coop in Madison. He says Union Cab’s mobile app has been a hit since its debut. Instead of having to call, those who need rides can book, track and pay for a cab with their smart phones. McNamara says the app has been especially helpful when cabs are in high demand, “During Freakfest on Halloween, we were getting about 3,000 calls an hour into our call center, which really at its max has about six people answering the phone. The people that were using the smart phone application were able to get in right away.”
McNamara says having an app gives his company a competitive edge. But it’s not just cab companies that are starting to use apps to drum up more business. Matt Carrington is a spokesman for the app TaxiMagic, which acts like a sort of taxi yellow pages that connects drivers with customers. He says private car services are beginning to use apps to stay busy. Carrington says that's a problem because private car services can discriminate fares but taxi drivers can't due to regulation, “And so as you have new entrants that come into the market and are basically able to siphon off rides, what you’re doing is creating two taxi systems, one that will serve a much more high end client, and then you have all the other rides existing within the regular taxi service within the city. But there’s less income to go around, and there’s less revenue for the driver.”
John McNamara of Union Cab Coop says he worries about about growing competition as more companies in Wisconsin start using mobile technology.