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Did you know that in most places where cab are operating, you could order a cab to pick you up at your house by calling a cab company and talking to the operator? Flagging down a cab as it drives by is a New York City thing.



I recently spent a weekend in a major city without Uber/Lyft. Trying to call a cab company was terrible, relative to the user experience of Uber or Lyft.

After making my request, a few cab companies simply answered "Ok" before hanging up. I called them back to get an ETA, and their dispatchers would give me answers like "30 to 40 minutes" or "I don't know".

I wasn't out in the boonies or anything. I was downtown.


Many major cities have a universal dispatch number you can call and you get the next available cab from any available company.

Chicago did not have this, and when Uber offered UberTaxi it really was the best of both worlds, for a small surcharge on the normal cab fare.


Sure, and it might arrive in 10 minutes, 30 minutes, an hour, or never. It's an awful experience.


Eh there have been plenty of times where requesting an Uber took one of those amounts of times too.


I live in downtown Toronto so it's rarely more than 2 minutes. But even when travelling it's a rare day when it hits 10 minutes.


That's not better. An app is a superior interface to a phone call.

Cab companies refusal to acknowledge this means they deserve to die. The economics are there, an app is undeniably cheaper, at some point, than a call center, and fundamentally whatever prices Americans pay to cab companies is clearly enough to sustain them, so it should in theory be enough to sustain an Uber-like company.

And let's not even get into the conversation about servicing more rural areas, where ZERO cab companies exist, but Uber drivers do. That is a net value add to those communities, no denying.


That absolutely did not work. I recall having to calling cab companies at night and the operator would estimate 30-40 minutes for a 20 minute ride. Spoilers: they would never show up


Calling is also archaic. Manually tell them my location and wait to hear a price? I'm on the go, I don't want to deal with that crap.


That system was incredibly awful.I don't believe there is a single person who used that system and was happy with it.


Right. Typical experience would be, call number, if you're lucky, someone picks up. If you're lucky, they can understand enough for you to order a cab. And then, if you're lucky the cab will actually wait for you rather than pick up some other random fare instead


I just I want to say, I was super happy with that system, much happier than with Uber.

I used a small family taxi company. I had to book in advance, or be prepared for a short wait, but they understood my father in law needed some extra time and understood his requirements. Ubers on the other hand are awful with disabled people in my experience.


In 3 cities where I have lived, calling cabs only works stochastically. Nothing to be relied upon. Uber/Lyft were a huge upgrade over that.


Oh you could order the cab. That you could do. Whether you'd get a cab, now that's a different thing.


You've clearly never missed a flight due to said cab not showing up. Never again.




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