Should Taxi’s Really Spend Time Protesting?

Eugene Suslo
May 14, 2015

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Globally the taxi industry is under fire in what has turned into a global Taxi War. Who started this? Uber. Uber brought a disruptive technology and it is destroying a long-standing industry. Taxis can complain all they want about Uber not being regulated like a Taxi, but unfortunately, you cannot rely on political officials to fight your battles. Why? They are swayed by money, and Uber has just as much of it as Taxis. So rather than approaching government officials about how Uber doesn’t play fair, taxis should be spending that energy in competing. We have discussed how Uber is presenting a great opportunity for Taxis to compete, but I am unfortunately continuing to read stories of taxis protesting in their local markets. Creating blocked roads, running their cars into Uber drivers, and a number of other terrible acts. Unfortunately, I do not see this as a way to win over customers. How do you win over customers? You create a product that is better than the competition, solves a problem, and is enjoyable to use. Uber did that and won over customers, and Taxis are slightly slow to catch up.

The Taxi War is not over but is just beginning. It is not too late for the taxi industry to catch up. The question is how to do it. Well for starters, the energy put into crashing into Uber drivers and protesting needs to be put into building customer relationships. Taxis need to spend their energy redefining their markets, adopting new taxi technology, and learning to “zig” while Uber is “zagging.” Lets discuss a few areas where taxis can take back their markets and gain an advantage, but first, we are going to determine how to Zig while others are zagging by looking at the Olympic high jump.

Disrupting The Olympics

Tim Ferriss is the author of the “Four Hour” trilogy of books and is a master at the deconstruction of skills and 80/20 analysis. In the Four Hour Work Week Tim Ferriss describes an example of an Olympic high jumper, Dick Fosbury, who was the first high jumper to jump over the bar backwards. What this did was to allow the world record to be broken and resulted in everybody claiming he had cheated. It seems funny to think that he cheated now, seeing as every high jump is performed in this fashion, but at the time people claimed this was the case. Actually, the way he performed was not only legal, but it was not specified in the rules that you had to jump feet first. The high jump was forever changed, and in a sense, disrupted.

I give this example, because rather than perform the high jump in the same fashion, Fosbury decided to revolutionise the way it was performed. This is eerily similar to the way that Uber has disrupted the taxi industry, and the taxi industry’s response is that they are cheating. Maybe Uber has slid on some of the same regulations, but the point is they have revolutionised the way that the taxi industry is going to operate. Like the Olympic high jump it is time to adapt and adopt a new way of operating.

Legislation Is Not The Answer

From most of the news articles going around it seems that the taxi industry is relying heavily on complaining to regulators about how Uber is illegally operating and cheating. This is most likely the case but not the point of this discussion. The bigger picture is actually being missed altogether and that is that Uber is changing the taxi industry. Attempting to work with legislators will only turn into lobbying and this results in how much money you can pay legislators to work items in your favour (I have no statistical proof, but the way politics run in the U.S., its all about money). Therefore this is a lot of money that could and should be spent on adopting a new way to do business. Uber is most likely going to adapt and be able to operate in your city at some point, if it isn’t already. The protests and complaints to government officials is not going to stop that. The real issue is why go to governments in the first place? This may sound cynical, but government does not have the interests of business at heart, as well as government moves very slow. When the industry is moving rapidly, and government is moving slow, it doesn’t seem like the best idea to hedge bets on changing regulations. By the time legislation is changed, the customers mind will be made up as to whether they want to use Uber or a Taxi. If the customer has chosen Uber, the battle is lost. It is not time to pour money on the legislative fire, it is time to let that battle play itself out and put that money into winning your local market.

The Technological Shift

Uber brought new technology to the market and this was introduced to customers, who responded saying they love it. If customers did not like the new technology it would not have taken off as it did.   Seeing as the market responded with what they want, it seems pretty logical to give it to them. The taxi industry needs to make mobile payment available, calling a taxi through an app available, as well as a two way rating system. It is not bold to say that this is going to be normal in the coming years, and it will actually make taxi dispatchers lives easier, as well as customers. This prediction is not too dissimilar to the high jump of the Olympics.

I am not going to tread lightly in saying that Taxis were asking for this disruption. I say this because people despise having to take a Cab, especially in American cities. This is why once there was an alternative customers flocked to it, regardless of whether it was safe, legal, or anything else. Uber offered an alternative with a customer focus with the ability to rate drivers and customers and have a transparent relationship. This may be a bit harsh, but the reality is that there needs to be a shift in the taxi industry, and quickly because the taxi war is now global. There doesn’t need to be wide spread panic though, or protesting in the streets, there needs to be change.

Taxi Technology Is Available

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The technology to compete in your local market, as well as on a global scale is available. The TaxiStartup solution allows you to work with customers on a global scale. It makes you both a local competitor and a global competitor. What it does not do, is bring back the customers you lost by angering them from protesting Uber in the streets. Unfortunately that is something that is bigger than a taxi app. If you think that Uber is not playing fair or is cheating, I will disagree with you. Uber is changing the industry and doing it publicly. Actually, Uber is teaching consumers how to call taxis in the future. Once Taxi technology is universal, there will be no need to educate customers, seeing as Uber did it for you. All that needs to be done is remind customers why they should take a taxi over an Uber.

Adopting taxi technology and bringing your taxi company into the future will be easier than you think, and it does not happen by talking with your local politician. It occurs by contacting a taxi app company who will assist you in the full integration. The reality is this, adopting the technology is far easier than you think, and it will most likely make you more money, bring back customers, and make operating your company far easier. Protesting Uber can do none of these things, and that is a fact. So lets take the ride together and integrate a highly functioning, global taxi app to bring back your customers and work with you to compete in your local market.