ABQ taxi business bought by company looking to compete with Uber, Lyft

ABQ taxi business bought by company looking to compete with Uber, Lyft

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Albuquerque’s oldest cab company is making a big change to try to take back some of the business that’s shifted to ride-sharing services over the last few years.

The old “Yellow-Checker Cab” company was recently bought out by a new owner that’s renamed the taxi business “zTrip.”

The new owners are positioning themselves as a so-called “better choice” by combing elements of traditional taxicab services with those of ride-share services.

“We like to bill ourselves as the perfect hybrid between a rideshare vehicle and a taxi cab,” said Bill George, President and CEO of zTrip.

Over the last few months, George’s company has been buying up old taxi businesses across the U.S., including Yellow-Checker Cab in Albuquerque. So far, zTrip is now in 19 U.S. cities across states like Colorado, Texas, Kansas and Florida.

“We saw what the fleets were in Albuquerque,” said George. “There was a lack of an investment, there was a lack of investment in technology in the vehicles.”

An old fleet of cars is just one of the reasons some people say they’ve turned away from traditional cab services in recent years.

“They’re a little sketchy, smelly,” Albuquerque resident Jennifer told KRQE News 13 Wednesday when asked about her thoughts on old cab services.

Others have complained about the comfort and price of old cabs.

“It’s just charging you while you’re at a red light, so the meters going up,” said Jessica of old-style cab service.

Meanwhile, ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft have taken off in popularity in the metro area. Those services hire local drivers to use their own private cars to give rides. With Uber and Lyft, customers can only get a ride through their use of a smartphone app.

CEO Bill George says zTrip is different than ride sharing.

“We want to be a better choice from the safety aspect, from the insurance aspect,” said George.

The company says it screens and hires all zTrip drivers. The company also owns the entire fleet of cars used for rides, including handicap accessible vehicles.

To compete with on-demand ride-sharing services, George says zTrip also has an app that works just like Uber or Lyft’s. George says their pricing is comparable too, with no surge pricing as is commonly seen with ride-sharing services.

People can also call zTrip directly to book a ride, or hail a driver from the side of the street.

“Here’s what a taxicab does really well, here’s what a rideshare does really well, what if we bridged that gap and put both of them together?” said George.

Albuquerque is zTrip’s first service area in New Mexico, but the company says it’s still looking to expand.

By: Chris McKee
Posted: Dec 13, 2018 10:25 PM MST
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ZTrip acquires Yellow Cab license

ZTrip acquires Yellow Cab license

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A new taxi service named zTrip has acquired Yellow Cab’s New Mexico license.

According to a news release from zTrip, the company has launched a fleet of 20 sedans and 20 minivans in Albuquerque.

Bill George, CEO of WHC Worldwide/zTrip, said five more wheelchair accessible vehicles will be available in the next year.

“Albuquerque’s size was a big factor in our decision to move here,” George said in a phone interview. “We saw the market and felt it was under served.”

George said zTrip is a hybrid between a taxi and ride share service, with the safety of having a licensed, insured driver.

“We also offer a set fare that doesn’t change at 2 a.m. or 2 p.m., good weather or bad,” he said.

The zTrip app service allows immediate or future bookings, with the option of picking the driver. Cutomers can pay with cash, credit card or through the app.

George declined to say how much zTrip paid for Yellow Cab.

BY ABQJOURNAL NEWS STAFF
Wednesday, December 12th, 2018 at 4:09pm
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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

Austin Yellow Cab gets new app to hail a ride.

Austin Yellow Cab gets new app to hail a ride.

Yellow Cab Austin, its business battered by new competition from ridesharing companies, is adding a new app to hail cabs — and it strays from the term “cab” in this rideshare-loving environment.

The company announced Thursday that it will begin using the ZTrip app for passengers to book rides. Yellow Cab already has an app, Hail-a-Cab, that does this. In a statement announcing the launch of the company’s ZTrip app, the company said it would keep Hail-a-Cab operational while trying to transition customers to the new app.

The new Yellow Cab ZTrip service has been in development for months, according to John Bouloubasis, president of Texas Taxi Inc., the parent company of Yellow Cab Austin and other Texas Yellow Cab franchises in San Antonio, Houston, Galveston and Pasadena.

“We’ve been talking about it for a while,” he said. “We were looking for another app that’s a national brand, and they have the tech support to take this to the next level.”

ZTrip, as an app, has already been operating in Austin since March. That’s because ZTrip is not its own ridesharing or taxi service. Rather, it is a mobile software platform developed by Paris-based TransDev International that traditional for-hire ground transportation services contract with to add app-based ride-hailing services to their offerings. ZTrip has already partnered with local taxi companies in PittsburghKansas CityBaltimoreOrlando, TampaDenver and Phoenix. In Pittsburgh, Yellow Cab announced it’s going so far as to change its name from Yellow Cab of Pittsburgh to ZTrip Taxi.

In March, ZTrip’s app launched in Austin in partnership with the owner of the local ExecuCar and SuperShuttle franchises. That company obtained a transportation network company operating authority, the legal instrument that allows Uber-style ridesharing services in the city, from the city of Austin. Despite obtaining this authority, the ExecuCar/SuperShuttle and ZTrip partnership operates more like a traditional taxicab company, with fully-liveried company cars ferrying fares from A to B.

But Yellow Cab will not be applying for a TNC operating authority, according to Bouloubasis. Rather, the ZTrip app will just be another way a user can hail a cab.

“They are going to be operating as taxicabs,” said Bouloubasis. “It will put passengers with licensed, vetted taxicabs.”

Bouloubasis said the company plans to add ZTrip booking to its subsidiaries in San Antonio, Houston, Galveston and Pasadena.

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Boulder Unveils Real Uber Competition With zTrip.

Boulder Unveils Real Uber Competition With zTrip.

Those in Boulder, Colorado, can now catch some zTrips.

The release offers the following on a company that is moving into the future after ride-hailing apps turned the tide of consumer expectations: “zTrip, a new innovative taxi service will launch with a fleet of 60 vehicles in the Boulder market today. zTrip combines the trust and safety of a taxi service, with the ease and speed of an on-demand car service app, providing benefits not available from any other competing ‘Car Hailing’ service in the area.”

As Daily Camera reports, the local taxis have been repurposed to make way for an innovation that is akin to an Uber service that is becoming all the more ubiquitous in major cities around the world.

The report states: “As of Tuesday, the fleet of Yellow Cabs in the county are now the zTrip fleet – 60 cars (mostly Scion XDs) that can be hailed via smartphone app.”

This unveiling takes place at a rather auspicious time for the budding business. We previously reported on 100 Uber drivers striking in New York City over a decrease in fares.

This is where companies like zTrip might be able to step in and reinvent the classic taxi model.

The release lists myriad ways that it differentiates itself from a company like Uber.

Here are a few posted in the release: “No surge pricing: The same low price every time, whether it’s 2 p.m. or 2 a.m.; Professional and licensed drivers with full fingerprint background checks: You don’t have to worry about who is driving you home; 24/7 live customer service: You can talk to a live support team member anytime.”

And, the most pertinent to travelers, this is relegated to the Boulder area.

Bill George, President of zTrip Boulder, offered thoughts on what could be a ray of hope for other companies that wish to wiggle their way into the Uber spotlight, stealing some fares back from ride-sharing companies that continue to dominate the market.

George proclaimed, “Unlike our competitors, we aren’t fighting background checks, we are embracing them.”

The president continued while highlighting the obvious safety features of zTrip: “As a parent of college students I don’t want my kids ever driving after they have been drinking. However, I am also very concerned about who might pull up to drive them home – zTrip provides the solution to put parents at ease, without sacrificing the ‘rideshare experience’ that students are accustomed to.”

At the moment you can hail a zTrip car on the street like a classic cab or by phone or in-phone app.

And there is a bit of monetary incentive at the moment: “To promote a safe ride home on Valentine’s Day, and honor CU Boulder’s 140th anniversary, zTrip will give away 140 free rides up to $25 in Boulder over the weekend (2/12/16 – 2/14/16).”

As previously mentioned, San Francisco’s Yellow Cab succumbed to bankruptcy while citing the rise of Uber and Lyft for its demise.

In Boulder, they are finding a way to change with the times. The taxi isn’t dead as long as you find a way to repurpose the fleet for the kind of trip commensurate with a new generation.

ZTrip may just be showing the industry the way home.

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