Last night I had an alarming conversation with a taxi buddy, my colleague distressed and panicked, expressing the opinion that PSD/BYG (Seattle Yellow Taxi) is set to implode and vanish from the known taxi earth. Rumors of bankruptcy and other dire predictions left his lips. I tired to reassure him that what we were experiencing was a temporary "rough patch" and the result of poor planning, something that was being addressed as quickly as possible. I know he remained unconvinced, and who can blame him, one bad financial week leaving him battered and bruised. "How can I pay my rent?" he lamented, which of course is a good question that hopefully will be answered by an uptick in business the next few weeks.
It has been occasionally scary, Yellow's new dispatch system's initial problems troubling and puzzling, confusing to the point that sometimes me and others had no idea (or concept) of was going on one way or the other. Though clarity has arrived, and PSDs new dispatch manager, Tom Holler, is working non-stop to resolve all the issues, that still doesn't repair the emotional damage done to our collective confidence and psyche. In taxi terms, the remediate balm is money, cold hard cash in our pockets, money being the first and everything in this grim business, making money again taking care of all worries and complaints. A suggested strike on the weekend of October 25th would only make a bad scenario worse, further irritating an already agitated customer base. Why make more troubles for ourselves, especially when we the drivers and owners are not responsible for the crisis, trusting that the correct decisions were being made. You can be assured that local media would have "fun" reporting our work outage.
Tom and I had a good talk yesterday, going over various points and problems and issues I have witnessed over the past weeks. It was pleasing to know he was well aware for the most part of what has occurred. As all of us drivers and owners know all too well, that couldn't always be said of his predecessor. He is planning on coming out with me soon and watching how the system operates in real time. It is good to know he is interested in actual practice, not solely in textbook theory.
Tom did go to San Francisco and observed the same system we have in our cabs working efficiently. And how many times need it be repeated? The failure we have witnessed has everything to do with how it was debuted. I feel we must go forward toward solution, especially given there is no alternative because, love it or hate it, the new system is here to stay. Patience is called for.
Once the "bugs" are worked out, the drivers and owners who know how to make money will continue to do well. Others, including some friends of mine with ten-plus years experience or more, will continue to stumble regardless of conditions. Back in 2001 I regrettably got my friend Steve into the business. Business was good but poor Steve remained a "fifty-dollar a day take home" cabbie despite everything I did to improve his skills. Coaching session after coaching session held no effect, Steve, for whatever reason, remained a lousy taxi driver, at least in terms of making money. He was a nice guy but bad cabbie.
And George Anderson, of Wireless Edge and GJ Anderson Group Inc will be in Seattle Monday October 27th, 2014 to do more "hands-on" fine tuning. George Anderson, if you didn't already know, is the creator of the system in your taxi. He is already involved from his San Francisco location. Again, be assured, PSD/BYG is going forward toward resolution. To be frank, they have no choice. Normally must return soon. That is clear.
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Joe, you have missed the points which are causing concerns for everyone associated with Yellow.ReplyDelete
There is reason to worry about their future and the rollout is the tip of the iceberg.
You have not mentioned BYG's plan to change their business model. It appears that BYG wants to go out of the leasing business.
Instead of leasing cabs, they will lease plates, for a amount of $1,000.
Those who lease the plates, can lease the shifts they are not working, assuming they can find someone, which, as you know, is already a challenge for Yellow, but, they will also be responsible for the costs.
Drivers will have the expenses of “ownership”, while not being owners!
This rumor has been confirmed.
So, ask yourself a question; is this a good deal for a driver, especially if they take a good look at the current state of the market?
Yellow made many mistakes in terms of the rollout and it has done real harm to our remaining customer base. It has also done harm to our bottom line as well.
Single owners and drivers have were contending with lower revenue before this, but with the dramatic loss of business in the past month, now, even the lease fees are out of reach.
Drivers feel like they are just working for Yellow and not themselves.
There was no planning in relation to the rollout, nor have they weighed the consequences relative to that lack of planning.
Most importantly, the planned change on the part of BYG is reflective of that lack of concern.
Instead of studying the business model of their competitors, as well as their efficiencies in relation to their systems, Yellow has done the exact opposite.
They are acting as though they are still a monopoly and your complaints about the city is not going to change that kind of mindset.
Nor will it change the loss of income for those working in this industry.
Next, the reason why people are planning to strike makes sense when looking at things from this perspective. So there will be unfavorable news stories, this is nothing new. For the last three years, there has been nothing but bad press.
Then again, what other choice do single owners and drivers have?
Yellow has to rethink their entire business model and not just from the perspective of trying to shift all their costs. They need to rethink how are they going to be competitive in a market that already has more supply and choices than there is demand.
If a full time driver is paying $1,900 to $2,400 for a lease, but is seeing their income evaporate and it is not just linked to their competitors OR the city, then they should consider striking. People are already holding back dispatch fees and lease payments because they can no longer afford them.
While there has been some progress in terms of the system, policies people have fought so hard for have now been reversed.
For example, hotel calls. They are no longer “bingos” and people are again being dispatched to them.
Worse, if they reject these calls, they are being penalized for it.
App driven calls are no longer providing phone numbers.
Even worse, there is a huge increase of calls with wrong addresses and phone numbers.
Worst of all, while the old system has its faults, it was at least transparent in terms of where one was in a zone, which is why many prefer a “zoned system”. Now, this lack of transparency, in addition to the Reject feature, is leading to cries of corruption.
You are not touching these issues and going out with Tom is not going to solve them.
In other words, things must change if anyone wants a future!
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