Most Kansas City taxis to operate like Uber and Lyft in wake of new state law.

Most Kansas City taxis to operate like Uber and Lyft in wake of new state law.

April 25, 2017 08:09 PM

Updated April 25, 2017 08:10 PM

New transportation option to and from Arrowhead Stadium debuts for Kenny Chesney concert.

New transportation option to and from Arrowhead Stadium debuts for Kenny Chesney concert.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Heading to Saturday’s Kenny Chesney concert at Arrowhead Stadium? Listen up: there is a new way to beat the traffic rush. A new transportation partnership aims to make getting to and from the stadium easier. The company also hopes the plan will be in place right in time for this season’s Chiefs games.

It’s called zTrip. Registered transportation providers, cabs and shuttles, will drive around the metro to pick people up and drop them off at Arrowhead for Saturday’s Kenny Chesney concert. The drivers will use an express lane through Gate One, will drop people off at the southeast corner of the stadium, and then pick them up after the show in the same place.

zTrip CEO Bill George said, “There’s no fee for the customers coming in, they’ll have a direct lane coming out.”

When concert-goers leave the stadium, they’ll head right back to the place they got dropped off. George said they’ll find 30 zTrip staff members and a rotating line of hundreds of zTrip drivers ready to take people home on the spot.

“All of our guests will get express out of Gate 7 and not wait with any other traffic,” George said.

He said you can book through the website, call them on the phone, or download the app. George said riders will know exactly what they’re paying.

“We don’t price surge. It’s the same price coming out here as it is going home.”

George said, like any cab ride, the cost will depend on where you’re coming from. He said it averages about $2.10 a mile. He claims, unlike other ride-sharing services, zTrip is accessible.

“You actually have somebody you can talk to, find out what it’s going to cost to where you’re going, what are your best options,” George continued.

Learn more here.

View Original Article.

Checker Cab in Jacksonville replaced by zTrip ride hailing service.

Checker Cab in Jacksonville replaced by zTrip ride hailing service.

A new ride-hailing service in Jacksonville is leading to the renaming of two old standbys in the transportation world: Yellow Checker and Gator cab companies of Jacksonville will officially be called zTrip as of Tuesday.

The company zTrip is similar to other personal transportation services such as Uber and Lyft in that a mobile phone application is used to hail a ride, but the vehicles can also be hailed on the street by riders in the traditional fashion of waving down a taxi. Already present in several cities, zTrip will not only be offering the mobile app service, but Checker and Gator cabs in Jacksonville will be changing their names to follow the zTrip branding.

That means the traditional Checker and Gator cab vehicles familiar with riders will go from the yellow and checked motif to silver paint with the zTrip logo which has a red “z” and black lettering for the “Trip” part of the logo, said Bill George, president of Transdev On Demand, owner of zTrip, Gator Cab and Checker Cab.

“We started the zTrip app about five years ago. … It’s more than just a paint job. It’s complete use of technology,” George said.

The app is fully integrated into taxi cellphone dispatching systems, he said.

Boulder, Colo., Pittsburgh, Pa., and Kansas City, Mo. and Kansas, have already had Yellow Cab service converted.

The zTrip cars will still be considered taxicabs, but the company will also offer unmarked cars, which are more standard in Uber and Lyft services.

“They have all the capabilities of a cab; you can still hop into one. We offer flexibility of payment; you can pay the driver in cash or credit card or through the app,” George said. Uber is paid automatically through the smartphone application.

“We also allow you to book us now or book us later,” George said. Uber is virtually on-demand and comes immediately when hailed. George said riders can reserve a zTrip ride several hours in advance.

Another feature of Uber and Lyft services is that they normally have lower fares. But George said the zTrip service is different from Uber or Lyft because zTrip does not do “surge pricing,” which increases fares during peak times of use.

“On a basis when they’re not surging, they [Uber and Lyft] can be cheaper. On the average trip, they might be a dollar or two cheaper, but when they surge they’re more expensive,” George said.

George said zTrip realizes there is still brand identity with the traditional taxis, so not all of them will disappear.

“When we change over a fleet, we put a host of new vehicles in there. In Jacksonville, we’ve added a bunch of new vans,” George said. “What we don’t do is paint over the yellow vehicles. There’s still some brand identity there.”

George said with the transition of the company and services added in with the fleet conversion and marketing, the project is costing the company $2.8 million.

“It’s a tremendous undertaking, but one that we get very positive results” in the cities that have already undergone the conversion, George said.

The alternative ride-hailing services have met with some controversy in many cities, including Jacksonville.

Jacksonville has failed to force Uber and Lyft and their drivers to follow the same regulations required of taxi drivers, which include vehicle inspections, background checks of drivers, and annual licensing fees. The city had demanded that the companies stop their operations, and issued a limited number of citations to the companies and their drivers.

Uber and Lyft officials maintain that they perform their own background checks. Despite those efforts, Jacksonville city officials said that they, along with other cities in the state, are looking to the Florida Legislature to settle the issue with an umbrella state law. But no such measures have been implemented.

George said the zTrip drivers are licensed professionals who receive background checks that include fingerprinting.

An email sent to Uber seeking comment was not returned Monday.

Drew Dixon: (904) 359-4098

View Original Article.

KC’s zTrip hails another local company to boost safety of its drivers, riders.

KC’s zTrip hails another local company to boost safety of its drivers, riders.

Kansas City-based transportation company zTrip Inc. says it will boost the safety and security of passengers with the purchase of equipment from another local company.

ZTrip will buy 450 video event recorders from Lenexa-based Digital Ally Inc. The devices provide audio and video recordings of driver-passenger interactions, along with information on the location, speed and maintenance of vehicles.

Founded in 2016, zTrip offers taxi and ride-share services in 18 cities. The company plans to end this year with operatins in 30 U.S. cities and affiliate in more than 16 international cities.

That’s big for Digital Ally, because zTrip has named its video event recorders as preferred equipment for the zTrip fleet.

Bill George, CEO of zTrip, said in a release that the purchase represents his company’s overall safety strategy, “one that others in our industry talk about but do not make significant investments in the underlying technology to provide the safety that drivers and passengers want.”

By Brian Kaberline – Editor, Kansas City Business Journal
May 14, 2018, 7:58am