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The cabFLARE Story

The Taxi and For-Hire Vehicle market continues to undergo significant technological advancement. With green initiatives, ride sharing pilots, and lots of regulatory changes.

While some conveniences have arrived, such as credit card payments, live maps and in-cab entertainment for passengers, we found that a few major players control vast portions of in-car equipment and communications subjecting drivers and owners to hefty added costs while providing those same drivers and owners little to no increase in business or profitability.

Contrary to many of the vendors profiting from these initiatives, and to our surprise, all of this added technology has done little to nothing to assist drivers in finding a fare or consumers in finding a taxi.

cabFLARE’s beta is an experiment to see if both drivers and consumers alike can find a happy common-ground where drivers can locate nearby fares and consumers get the nearest available vehicle...period. Our research shows that this would disrupt the decades old adage that you cannot reduce cruising time without reducing availability. This disruption alone would be extremely “green”.

Implemented as a mobile web application, cabFLARE does not require personal information or registration from the consumer. Drivers do need to register with cabFlare in order to respond to consumer requests. cabFLARE does not require access to your contacts, phone state, or other personal data on your device, unlike many other mobile apps. cabFLARE also offers users the added feature of using their Twitter credentials to allow the service to update them when a driver responds and is on their way.

We do require that your mobile device and browser supports geo-location services (GPS) and javascript. cabFlare has been tested using Apple’s iOS v3.2.x and higher, Google’s Android v2.2.x, and RIM’s OS v6.x, devices.

While the cabFLARE beta is designed to truly mimic the notion of hailing a taxi, the solution has been built out to enable traditional future bookings, as well as centralized dispatch. These and other features are immediately available for fleet owners.

cabFLARE’s beta applies the KISS principle. Keep It Simple, Sherlock (well, you know what we mean). Any solution can be easily over-engineered. Let’s just see how this resonates, first.

Lastly, we kindly ask for your help in spreading the word. Especially to drivers, since this experiment will fail miserably if nobody is monitoring the sky. Thanks for your interest and with your help, we hope to serve you one day soon.

- Team cabFLARE

Monday, April 11, 2011

Wake Up New York City!

While we try to awaken "The City That Never Sleeps" to a better and immediate way to address many of the City's taxi issues, we thought we would clarify the myth that NYC Yellow taxi drivers can't use their smartphones while on duty.

What myth you say? Well, it appears that even the so-called taxi driver advocates take part in the mis-information to drivers. Let's look at the Taxi Insider's January 2010, "Telling It Like It Is" article by Vincent Sapone, managing director of LOMTO. In discussing some new TLC rules, he gets the first part correct stating that:

"... New cell phone rules which include any electronic devices, other that the TLC approved T- PEP (or what most guys call GPS) will start in the middle of January. If TLC Enforcement catches you on the phone or texting or programming a navigation device or messing with any electronic device while you're driving; besides a fine you'll get 3 points for a first offense, 3 points for a second offense and 4 points for a third offense plus you'll have to attend a Distracted Driver Class.

The fine and the class aren't so bad when your realize the 6 point in 15 months gets you a thirty day suspension and 10 points in 15 months gets your Hack License revoked! If you get revoked you could be out of work for a year."

And then continues by clearly mis-informing all drivers by emphatically stating:

"The only time you can use any electronic device if you're 'OFF- DUTY” and either legally parked or standing." (his emphasis, not mine)

My understanding of this TLC rule is that it allows the driver to use any electronic device while the driver's vehicle is either legally parked or standing. The regulation does not include language regarding being on or off duty.

So, in Mr. Sapone's defense, I am sure he meant to say "The only time you can use any electronic device is when you're ON-DUTY OR OFF-DUTY and either legally parked or standing."

Well, maybe this is all old news and every driver knows the TLC just wanted them to stop talking while driving. I would hope the driver "advocates" would do a better job when helping to interpret the rules for the drivers.

Oh, and btw, we thought we'd share the NEW version of the rule we just discussed. Fortunately, it hasn't changed, so drivers are still able to use their smartphones while their vehicle is lawfully standing or parked, regardless of their duty status.

From the TLC's Industry Notice #11-12, dated March 23, 2011...

The New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) is pleased to announce that a new easier to read and understand TLC rulebook will be in full force and effect as of Friday, April 1, 2011. The existing rulebook will be repealed as of that date.

From the New Rulebook, Chapter 54, Section 54-14 Operations - Passenger and Driver Safety, part (e) Use of Electronic Communication Device, paragraph (1)...

"A Driver must not Use an Electronic Communication Device while operating a Vehicle. A Driver can Use an Electronic Device only while the Vehicle is lawfully standing or parked."

This means that NYC Yellow Taxi Drivers can use cabFLARE! Technology that finally helps drivers and riders without being controlled by the TLC or the privileged few.

OK drivers, let us know what you think. All of the driver advocates in NYC and the TLC know about cabFLARE and the opportunity it offers drivers to make more money, more efficiently. The question is, "have they told you about us, yet?" If not, why not?

Stay tuned, we'll try to let you know the answers and we hope this clears up any concern in using cabFLARE.  NYC TLC rules allow Yellow Taxi drivers to use cabFLARE on their smartphones.

1 comment:

  1. Really well done for the blog.these are so sweet and pretty!

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