Cab Dilemma

Why is cab service still so poor and we still put up with it? 

Last week I went to an event where I knew parking would be prohibitive, so I treated myself to a cab.  The ride over was uneventful, but the return was a bit of drama.

The first thing that happened is that the cab driver who delivered me asked me to use him for the return ride as well.  That’s fine.  I respect independents and how hard it is to make living.  The problem is he responded to neither phone call nor text.  I gave him 15 minutes to respond before going to alternative means to get home.  (He ultimately never responded).

Next I called a cab service.  My cab arrives and another group jumps in…close enough for me to see, but too far for me to do anything about it.  I call the cab service back & they send another cab.  The same thing happens.  (I’d walked to where the other cab had been stolen from me and the new cab came from a different direction).

I called the cab company yet again.  This time, I emphasized that I was a female in a rough part of town waiting on a corner by herself…not an optimal situation.  The crowd was dying down fast making the situation more uncomfortable.  I asked the dispatcher “Are they asking the name of the party?”  He replied “It doesn’t matter.  Once they are in the cab, by law we can’t force them out.”

I found this kind of strange.  It may be that Missouri law is different than other states, or it may be they are quoting a “law” that doesn’t exist (one of my pet peeves).

After another 15 minute wait (45 minutes later) I grab the next cab that arrives & head home.  I got an apology from dispatch, but what bothered me is that is all that I got.  Cab services do not accommodate you for bad service.  There is no “coupon for next time”.  There is no discount for tonight’s service.  There’s just an apology…and it felt weak at that.

This isn’t the first time I have dealt with poor cab service.  It’s just the first time in my “daily” life I’ve had it happen.  As a business traveler, I dealt with cabs weekly if not daily depending on the city in which I was traveling.  More than once, a cab scheduled to take me to the airport did not arrive and I spent time chasing another one down.  If you are not in a downtown area, cabs are hard to come by.  You must call for them to pick you up.  And when you are reliant on them for transportation, you feel helpless in getting them to come where you need them when you need them. 

When you have appointments to keep, you need the cab service to be reliable to get you there.  When they aren’t, your stress goes up.  If you’re late, it could mean missed flights, damaged business relationships, and frustration all around.

Most businesses today realize that when service fails, you need to do a service recovery.  Why haven’t cab services come up with the times?

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