The Cons of Ridesharing Companies like Uber and Lyft
There are many new ride-sharing companies that have started up recently, such as Uber and Lyft. These companies seek to provide traditional transportation in a non-traditional fashion by allowing you to order a driver through their smartphone apps, pay for that driver via the same app and then rate the experience.
Their claim is that they can provide a better service for a cheaper price. When you hear a claim like that, you may question how those savings may be achieved. Just what are the negatives of ride sharing companies?
The high cost of being cheap
They claim that as you can order your driver online and everything is handled through their mobile app they can cut costs to the end user, since they don’t need to provide traditional infrastructure like that of an established cab company. However, that infrastructure is crucial to ensure that your driver is insured properly, has a proven history of safe driving and doesn’t have a dangerous criminal history. Uber and Lyft do not have these same safeguards in place, despite protesting that they have a vigorous background check system and that their drivers are fully insured.
Trustworthy traditional taxi companies
In a traditional taxi company, such as Blue & White, all of our drivers are required to be commercially insured to cover any accidents, injuries or damages. Our drivers are all thoroughly investigated yearly and their backgrounds fully checked quarterly by City officials for any driving related offenses, as well as criminal offenses. Uber and Lyft claim that their drivers are thoroughly screened, however they have been caught hiring drivers with serious criminal records and histories of traffic-related incidents. Should we mention the driver in Houston that was hired two years after serving a federal prison sentence? The Taxicab Commission down there denied him a license.
These companies also claim to provide a faster, easier-to-use method of ordering a ride and that since you get a picture and the license plate of your driver, it’s a safer experience, somehow. These companies are quick to point out what a time-saver they are, but they are not so quick to point out that traditional cab companies like Blue & White have easy to use online ordering systems, a clear and concise fee structure and every single driver we employ is licensed and professionally bonded to provide the safest, most cost efficient means of getting you where you need to be. We also give cab #s and drivers names via our app and text to order system.
Ride-share companies like to push the fact that you can rate individual drivers so that you don’t get picked up by one you disliked before. In reality, this is just an easy way for them to distance themselves from employed individuals whom they didn’t bother to properly investigate and vet. We answer every complaint, and not just via Twitter or email. We keep files on drivers, and also let go of ones that have a proven track record of bad behavior.
Blue & White
When you choose a company like Blue & White Taxi, you get a team that stands behind each member. You won’t get a bad driver and if you have an experience you disagreed with, you have a company to report it to, not an app that only asks how many stars you want to give an individual driver.
Once you start to look into them, the negatives of ride-sharing companies become more and more obvious and the choice to stick with a traditional cab company like Blue & White does, too. We will get you where you need to be, when you need to be there and, unlike ride sharing companies, we stand behind each and every one of our drivers to ensure you get the best possible experience every time.
There’s nothing quite like going out and having a good time at the bar or club on a weekend night. Getting out with your friends and releasing the stress of the week is a great time, but to make sure it stays a great, take care that you don’t endanger yourself or others with a DUI, or Driving Under the Influence.
In Minnesota the legal limit of alcohol concentration in your bloodstream is .08%, but did you know that you can still be charged with a crime even if your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is under that limit? Depending on the circumstances of the ticket, you can still be charged at or under the legal level and it only gets worse from there.
Legal ramifications of DUI
If you’re charged with DUI at or above the legal level you may be subject to criminal charges for endangering yourself and other motorists, as well as any passengers in your vehicle. These penalties could include 90 days in jail for the first offense, a fine ranging from $1,000 to $3,000 and, potentially, a gross misdemeanor charge… and that’s all just for the first offense.
If you’re charged again you could have your license revoked or suspended, as well as an interlock ignition device fitted to your vehicle. The interlock ignition device prevents your car from starting until you blow into a built-in breathalyzer. If your BAC registers over the pre-set limit your car won’t start.
In addition to criminal charges, you will also face administrative action from the Department of Public Safety, including driver’s license suspension or revocation, fines and your car or license plates being impounded. Don’t believe you can skirt around these penalties by refusing to take the breathalyzer test, as refusal to take the test at an officer’s request subjects you to additional penalties that are just as stiff, if not harsher, than the penalties for DUI.
Call Blue & White Taxi
The best way to have a good time and to make sure that the good time keeps rolling all the way home is to have someone else do the driving for you. When you’re out with your friends, call Blue & White Taxi to have one of our professional drivers take you home. You can have all your friends in on the fun, since we are happy to be your designated driver to and from your residences. When you call us, you can go out and party without worrying about trying to avoid the police or skipping the fun with your friends. The best way to avoid a DUI charge is to never get behind the wheel of a vehicle after drinking alcohol.
The benefits of calling us really add up too, when you consider that it’s much cheaper to pay for one of our efficient and friendly cabs than to pay to have your license reinstated (a $680 fee, after your prerequisites are met, such as suspension or an Interlock Device). It also lets you skip the hassle and fees associated with parking your car in a busy nightlife area. You also don’t have to worry about vehicle security, as we’re supplying the ride. You can even order a cab online with our convenient online service and our easy to understand fee schedule won’t leave you shocked at the meter. When it comes to DUI, don’t chance it, give Blue & White a call.
Traveling is a big part of my life and I travel for both business and pleasure. In either situation, convenience makes the overall experience much more enjoyable. Over the years, I have learned a few tricks to make traveling less stressful for me. Taking advantage of a trusted airport taxi service, like Blue & White’s, is a prime example.
Experienced Driver Equals Less Stress for Me
I like having an experienced driver take me through our busy city. I like having a driver who can maneuver around town in a quick and efficient manner, especially if there is any type of roadwork going on. An airport taxi service driver who is always moving about the city always knows how to avoid major construction zones.
When traveling, I could rent a car but the stress of driving around an unfamiliar environment is unnecessary. If I’m taking a vacation, I can begin my rest and relaxation as soon as I get seated in my Blue & White taxi for the ride to the airport.
The same is true when I am traveling for business. I always feel like I am in a rush to get to my business destination. Renting a vehicle would just add to this notion of being in a hurry which is not good for my stress level. No one wants to arrive at a business meeting feeling overwhelmed just from fighting traffic around an unfamiliar city.
The last thing I need is worry about is finding the right location, parking or paying those extra fees for private parking. An airport taxi service can take me directly to my destination while I do last minute preparations for the conference or business meeting.
To and From the Airport
Blue & White’s airport taxi service can be used for both going to and returning from the airport. Blue & White’s service is always prompt and ready to go and I don’t have to worry about missing my flight or making a long drive home.
Schedules are important to me, especially in business. I want to be at my destination at the right time and being late only makes me look bad. An airport taxi service gets me to my destination promptly and I can prearrange their service for both going to and returning from the airport. The convenience of the service means one less thing I have to worry about on my trips.
Whether I am ordering online or through the Text 2 Order option, Blue & White’s pricing is competitive. I pay less for Blue & White’s airport taxi service than I would for a regular taxi. As a person who constantly travels, saving on services and other fees really helps my budget.
The next time you are traveling, take my advice and use Blue & White’s convenient airport taxi service. Their prompt and friendly service will keep you using Blue & White for both business and pleasure traveling.
You’ve no doubt heard of ride sharing companies, such as Uber, Lyft and Sidecar. These companies purport to offer a cheaper means of driving customers to their destinations and they go to great lengths to talk about the rigorous background checks each of their drivers go through. However, the business practices and, especially, the background check procedures for these companies have come under scrutiny.
Uber claims that its background checks exceed the industry standard and that its drivers are better vetted than those at traditional taxi companies. However, they have recently come under fire for hiring drivers with criminal records, histories of reckless driving and even drivers who have assaulted people, both physically and sexually. All of these types of drivers had histories that would have seen them turned down for employment at a traditional cab company, yet they were allowed to drive for Uber.
One of Uber’s main claims is that their background check process is thorough, yet fast, so that they can meet the need for new drivers to serve more customers. However, the companies that they go through for these background checks readily admit that they get results in a 48-hour turn around time, an extremely fast return of results. That speed comes at a price, namely a lack of depth in the investigation. This means questionable drivers have been hired by Uber and then continued driving despite their criminal records and unsavory personal histories.
A tradition of safety
When you choose a traditional cab company, such as Blue and White, you can be sure you are getting a driver that has had a thorough background check of both public and private records. Each driver has had their fingerprints checked for criminal history through the FBI’s national database and their criminal and motor vehicle history is examined thoroughly to make sure that the person driving you is someone who can be trusted behind the wheel of that vehicle.
In contrast, Uber’s background checks do not examine fingerprint records or criminal histories. When they are asked about the gap in security, the company maintains simply that they provide a more in-depth background check than traditional companies without actually providing any evidence of doing so.
You should ask yourself if a company that lobbies local, state and federal lawmakers to prevent their drivers from having to apply for and pass stricter background checks truly has your best interests at heart or is even concerned for your safety.
The best alternative to these ride sharing companies is licensed and bonded traditional taxi services. The choice is clear. Trust an established and proven cab company that has a record of safety and can provide all the same amenities as a ride sharing company with none of the drawbacks. Choose Blue and White Taxi for your transportation needs.
The taxi business is a profession historically dominated by men, but as a famous Minnesotan named Bob Dylan once sang, “the times they are a-changin’.”
Waleed Sonbol, the owner of Blue & White Taxi in Minneapolis, has seen those changes first-hand. “I have a total of 38 employees,” he says. “32 are women.”
And this number includes drivers. “Today, I have seven, the most in the state,” Sonbol says.
One of those drivers is Bambi Barclay, who has been driving a cab for six years, the last four of those with Blue & White Taxi. Like other drivers, she works as an independent contractor for the company, so she is, essentially, self-employed.
“The most rewarding part of self-employment, is the feeling of control over my own life,” Barclay says. “I have, within certain parameters, control over how much I make, control over how much I work, and control over when I work.”
This allows her time for other, more personal pursuits.
“Part of the reason that cab driving works for me is that it allows me to pursue my real love, which is music,” she says. “I love self-employment status, I have no desire to ever be an employee again!”
She also appreciates the work atmosphere at Blue & White Taxi.
“I like working at Blue and White, in particular, because on a personal level, they have been extremely kind, generous and supportive of me when I was needing to get my own car on the road,” Barclay says. “Although my interactions with Waleed are brief and business-focused, I enjoy that interaction as well. I dislike the cliché of a business being ‘like a family,’ because I have had large corporations try to market that message to me while at the same time showing me, by their actions, that they have complete and utter disregard for their workers. By contrast, the actions of Blue & White make me feel that it is a well-run, ethically-run, compassionate organization with respect for the contractors that it deals with.”
And she encourages other women entrepreneurs to consider the cab industry.
“It is a job for people who have a certain amount of ‘hustle’ and motivation,” Barclay says. “What I can tell other women about the taxi cab industry is that there’s nothing to be afraid of. Customers are 95% good people, just trying to get where they’re going. Some people are fun and enjoyable and some not so much, just like the people you would deal with in any other job. As far as the 5% that are up to no good, that is something that — as women — we always have to be aware of. In any situation, in this job, or any other job, or just walking down the street you have to have your wits about you and read people and situations to the best of your ability. I don’t feel any less safe driving a cab than I did driving a school bus, which I did for many years. As far as entrepreneurialism in general, I say go for it, you only live once!”
With that kind of can-do attitude and progressive business owners like Blue & White Taxi’s Waleed Sonbol, there are sure to be more women joining the cab industry as the times continue to change.
Get To Know the Owner of Blue & White Taxi
Blue & White Taxi is a cab company that caters to all people. It offers traditional taxi services, airport transportation and services for corporate accounts. It’s an established, Minneapolis-based company. In fact, the company predates its current owner, Waleed Sonbol.
“I did not start Blue & White, but I came to work here in 2004,” he says. “Blue & White has its roots as far back as 1926 and my family has been in the cab business since 1980.”
There’s been explosive growth at the company since Sonbol took over. There’s been a 400% increase in fleet size, and the acquisition of ABC Taxi, but that’s not all that makes Blue & White special. In this interview with Sonbol, you’ll learn a little more about him and about what sets Blue & White above the rest in the cab business.
What is your educational background?
Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, and an MBA in Operations Management
What is your business background?
During my college years, I was an assistant manager at a local Perkins restaurant. After receiving my MBA, I was a logistics engineer involved in warehousing and transportation for companies such as Ricoh, Slimfast, Nike Golf, Nortel Networks, Imation and FB Fuller.
What is the average number of people you transport daily?
2,300 in the colder months, 1,800 in the warmer.
How many drivers does Blue & White Taxi employ?
Drivers are not employees, but independent contractors. There are 336.
How many cab drivers did you start with in your first year with Blue and White Taxi?
What is the most difficult part about running a cab company?
It is a customer service job, with direct contact with independent owner-operators, independent drivers, customers, health insurance programs, their members and government officials. There is never just a normal day in this industry, since there are so many moving parts. Every day is unique.
What is the most rewarding part?
Being able to help people. For example, in 2004 I had 43 cabs in Blue & White. I was able to use my savings and help drivers buy their own licenses, and thus become independent owner-operators, by giving them $10,000 loans, interest free, for 14 months. We were able to help 29 people start owning their own businesses.
How do you stand out from your competitors?
We have two core business policies that we take very seriously.
The first being that we do not believe that we have any competitors, outside of ourselves being our biggest ones. If we ever stop trying to get better, or stop trying to change our industry, and company, for the better, then we – at that point – allowed others to beat us at what we should be best at.
The second core policy is to build honest and trustworthy relationships with our vendors and customers. We do not sugar coat or lie about a situation, but instead offer the truth. We do not make excuses, but give solutions. Mostly, when we apologize, if that is all that we can offer, then we have failed miserably.
We carry this to our drivers and owners. We do not change policy without discussing it with everyone. We do not hide what we are paid from our accounts. Unlike our competition, any driver, and any owner can walk into my office and we would have a conversation and address whatever their concerns are right there.
We’ve upgraded our Text-2-Order service to provide more reliability for you all. There has been some spottiness in the past, but all those issues should be resolved!
Thank you all for riding with us, and we’ll continue working to bring you the best in taxi tech!
Blue & White Taxi is looking for an evening manager. Someone who can multi-task, and lead the evening team to deliver excellence in the call center. Someone who can step in at any time and do the task that is needed, but more importantly, can work with the team on developing their skill set through training and coaching.
First, minimum requirements are:
1) Must have managed or supervised staff before.
2) Must have the ability to use Microsoft office, and has a great understanding of computers.
3) Must have strong communication skills, both written and spoken.
4) Must be a team player.
5) Must be able to multi task. Those that buckle under pressure easy need not apply.
Ideally, the candidate will also have the following traits:
1) Well organized
2) Consistently willing to learn, and educate those around them.
3) Have had volunteer experience.
4) Result driven
5) Goal oriented
Blue & White has experience tremendous growth since 2004, and is still looking on improvement. This is a new position, with new goals involved. The candidate will be required to work every other Saturday evening. The job includes handing customer service issues, monitoring staff breaks, and filling in on calls when needed. Supervision and conflict resolution are part of this position, as well as office organization skills. There will be reporting and filing. This position will grow with the right candidate.
You must submit a resume. Please be advised that resumes must be submitted in Work or PDF format only. Resumes sent in the body of an email will be discarded.
With all the pandemonium of New Year’s Eve (I don’t think you’ve really lived in the Twin Cities until you’ve been stranded in the downtown chaos of Jan 1st at 2am), we unfortunately have to disable a couple of our ordering systems.
The Standard Prepay Online booking is disabled. You can still book for the Airport.
The Taxi Magic text-messaging will be disabled as well.
Our phones will of course be open, but please expect delays.
We apologize for the inconvenience these lack of services will cause tonight, but we will bring the systems back up first thing on January 1st. We thank you all for your patience, and your continued business.
Also, be sure to check out our very own Jeremy Kramer on the Channel 5 News @ 6 tonight!
We hope everyone has a safe and Happy New Year. There are many exciting things ahead in 2013, and we look forward to getting you there.
Here’s a quick update of what’s been added:
Newly designed layout that will scale with your computer monitor’s resolution (though if you’re rocking an old IMB mainframe with 640×480 you might see some weird stuff).
Ordering System Updated. We will be rolling out more updates to the cart for faster service.