Jan 08 bigger network of providers closest to rider, for the rider convenience, but not a thousand circling drivers clogging traffic
Transportation providing companies do not share customer base. Regency has managed to network with Barwood Brand, and ACTION Cab of Monthomery County. Riders can use MARS app or MARS web reservation to reserve the closest ride, and broker for non emergency medical transport ( NEMT) to bring the gift of mobility to people with disability. That is a big investment for delivering to Transits needs for NEMT, para-transit service.
Regency Taxi works tirelessly to provide operation for any customer
in Montgomery County, and designed a functional proposal to perform for local transits.
Regency won against Uber in networking taxi cab companies
giving the rider the ease of use of gettin nearest cab
regardless of brand.
HOW MANY CAB COMPANIES DO THAT? Regency’s management recognized the shift towards TNC s in 2009 and started a sister company to produce compatible software to network taxi companies. The sister company
IT Curves, designed with Transit agancies need of audit in mind. Serving transits for fifteen years, IT Curves designed a chain management system for ride booking, where from the incoming call or web, or app request for a ride, the information is contained seamlessly all the way to job dispatched/ accepted by Driver and bill generated and invoiced
We educated our policy makers and
regional transportation providers that there is a chance to
Network regulated cabs so the consumer has a choice.
Cab prices remain fixed by local jurisdictions and cab companies
pay $1000 fees for picking up passengers out of a zone.
the option of closest cab regardless of the brand of cab.
Bethesda Magazine always featured Barwood
This work of creating the gift of mobility could be headlined as
Three local cab companies form strategic partnership
In the coming weeks,
160 Regency Taxi vehicles and another 225 Barwood vehicles will seemingly disappear from Montgomery County’s streets.
The companies, however, are carrying on – despite the unfair competition that Uber and Lyft bring. MARS app is used nationally with over 3000 vehicles.
“Once competitors engaged in a healthy rivalry, Regency, Barwood, and Action, and IT Curves’ leadership had a kumbaya moment and aligned to bring a regulated network of riders”
For the past 9 years IT Curves a Maryland based Software company, helps dispatch rides to 3000 cabs daily with local white labeled brands. Part of the MoCo cabs that also includes a revamped smartphone app, upgraded technology in cars.
“When you have an unlimited fleet like Uber or Lyft, which could have 40,000 cars at any given time in a city, how do you compete?,” Regency enthusiast Sherri Mohebbi asked during an exclusive interview earlier this month. “And the way you compete is by optimizing the number of vehicles needed at a location.”
“No medallions changed hands, though regardless of owner, all 700 cabs will now be accessible through MARS app – a crucial update that realigns local taxis’ customer-facing tech with Uber and Lyft – and by dialing any of the numbers previously associated with the three companies”
The merger of sorts came together over the past six months. Mr. Mohebbi who owns ITCurves, sorted out details during Saturday morning bagel coffee.
We had to learn to trust one another and understand that we all have common goals and know that working together is the best way forward.
“The abilities of all of us together, far surpassed the ability of any one of us, Sherri said.
As the owner of the smaller number of cars, he incurred the approximately $400,000 cost, or $1,000 each, to repaint and repair his fleet to MARS vehicles.
Aside from the cosmetic changes, customers may have already started to notice some of other changes. Taxis offering an experience more in line with ridesharing companies, referred to as transportation network companies, or TNCs, in legislation.
Tablets have replaced the traditional meter and payment systems, allowing cab operators to eliminate time spent on equipment training. The tech also lets passengers charge their phones while en route, and monitor total cost in real time – a change from the old meters, which only showed the full fare once at the destination.
IT Curves came up with cash payment before the TNC apps, and also integrates the subsidized cards as payment, and calculates fares for ADA rides from transits. Fairs can also be split and pooled rides, and a user-friendly app that creates a token from credit card payment information and does not store credit card information. MARS has a real-time map of nearby available cabs. For passengers already in a MARS car, they can use the Pair & Pay function to sync with the app.
“Now that our app is above par with those of TNCs, we can provide a similar service with fares that are comparable to other companies,” Company management said, alluding to one thing the cab companies won’t do, for now, to match its ridesharing competitors – surge pricing.
A taxi is a consistent rate,” management said. The driver’s time, fuel, car maintenance, 24/7 call Center customer service can’t be duplicated.”
And according to the newly partnered firms, that’s OK. Mohebbi, and management say they are aiming to draw back customers with consistency and safety.
“Our drivers are full time dedicated drivers that care about passengers. They are not a high turnover temps with a driving license. The drivers are screen for math, map capacity, and FBI background checked and don’t traffic around. Maryland may allow vaccination for drivers under 1B or second group.
As cab companies are under regulation by the county, the cab fares are fixed by the county and individual cab companies cannot lawfully charge the fare rate. The same way the Transits cannot offer daily/hourly change rate for the Metro area.
The joint venture, in particular integrating onto a single app, clearly “delivers more value to the customer” since it will reduce waiting times and eliminate the need for multiple apps, Mohebbi said.
A marketing strategy worth trying, he suggested, is placing a greater emphasis on MARS MOCO as a local brand. “We are your neighbors, we are here in Montgomery County,” he said. “Our company cares about people Montgomery County. “
The MoCo partners are still sorting out potential marketing campaigns as the focus has been on the rebrand and tech upgrades. Once that’s complete, MARS will up the intensity on another, admittedly, low-tech method to rival the Silicon Valley players.
“We are pushing for taxi stands to conjoin with major transportation depots,” Mohebbi said.
On the driver side, the new tech shows the queue of requested rides and analyzes a comparable day’s business so they can make an educated decision on where to position their car.
But additional taxi stands would take this a step further, Mohebbi said.
“We have to efficiently deploy our fleet and that it is knowing where we can be the most effective for the population,” he reasoned.
Working with the Transportation Dept., the taxi companies surveyed neighborhood associations and businesses across Montgomery County to find where gaps in transportation exist, he said.
Places like the Malls in Bethesda, lake forest Mall, and SilverSpring, were a few of the locations where survey participants said a taxi stand is needed to meet demand.
Another possibility is offering flat rate zones, Mohebbi said for the commerce area zones.
Montgomery county cab companies dispatched based on zones.
That’s what we are going to consider more of to keep ridership up then figuring out when it is the busiest time including for holiday events and tourism and major conventions not charging people eight times the normal rate to go somewhere,” he said, one of his few jabs at TNCs.
He and management have battled with regulators since Ubers first arrived in Montgomery County to even the playing field. Following recent rule changes, it is easier to focus on his own business, but he said reining in the TNCs would still be a good thing for the county overall.
Saying he does not want to cast himself as “the protagonist to fight them,” Mohebbi said, “I don’t think it is good for anybody that it takes 40 minutes to cross town because there are thousands of vehicles for hire roaming the streets on a Friday night, or a guy with a VA plate, who has no clue that once taking Viers Mill Rd, you have to U Turn back onto Rockville pike.