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Who Needs Uber? County Cab, Yellow Cab App Hits 25,000 Downloads in St. Louis

Categories: Bidness

yellowcab.jpg
County Cab Yellow Cab on Facebook
"We have an app for that."
So you need a ride. You pull out your phone, place the order in an app, watch as the tiny blinking car on the map comes closer to your location, go outside when a text message tells you your ride has arrived and pay with a credit card via the app.

Sounds like Lyft or Uber, right? But it's not. County Cab and Yellow Cab, St. Louis' largest taxicab company, says it's already booked 70,000 fares from the 25,000 people who've downloaded its app, St. Louis Taxi.

"Even though you might read that something is new technology, it's really not," Debbie Rudawsky, co-owner and chief financial officer of County Cab, tells Daily RFT. "You can have the exact same experience with our app that you can with other apps that are out there. It's not as new as people think it is."

See also: 10 Important Sentences from the Judge's Ruling Against Lyft in St. Louis

A string of app-based ride-sharing businesses have tried to earn their way into the smartphones of St. Louis this year. First came Carmel, which got approval from the Metropolitan Taxicab Commission in February. Then Lyft tried to launch illegally in St. Louis until a judge ordered the company to stop operating here. Uber, perhaps the most well-known of all the rideshares, is still working with city government to alter rules governing rides-for-hire to make way for an app-based model.

"St. Louis is the largest city in the United States without Uber," Kenny Tsai, a general manager for Uber, tells the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

But while Lyft and Uber wait to cut the red tape, County Cab is booking 12 percent of fares through the St. Louis Taxi app.

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The St. Louis Taxi app.
County Cab announced it the 25,000 downloads mark this week, just after a judge granted a preliminary injunction against Lyft. Rudawsky says more than 250 people are downloading the app each week.

"I use the crap out of it," Rudawsky tells Daily RFT.

Just because the taxi company is using an app doesn't mean it's the same as getting a Lyft or Uber. This isn't ridesharing, so your drivers are professionals, not people looking to earn a little extra on the side.

The app also doesn't make a taxi ride cost less. Lyft is still much cheaper, but it also doesn't pay for licensing fees, vehicles or vehicle inspections since drivers provide their own cars.

Of the 20,000 fares County Cab and Yellow Cab dispatch each week, 40 percent of orders come in electronically, through text message, the website, an automated hotline or the app. The rest of the fares come through phone orders.

"People are married to their phones," Rudawsky says. "Whatever you can do through their phone, people enjoy that."

Follow Lindsay Toler on Twitter at @StLouisLindsay. E-mail the author at Lindsay.Toler@RiverfrontTimes.com.


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33 comments
Laura Dee
Laura Dee

Is there an app for making a cab ride less expensive??

Fallon Lott
Fallon Lott

I hate taxis and refuse to pay for one. I'm so glad that our government is more interested in keeping the taxi union happy than appealing to the people (and voters I might add) who want to make their own choices. I really don't need st louis officials making and limiting my decisions for me, thank you.

Sean Gremaud
Sean Gremaud

Their whole business model is threatened. This kind of service is already revolutionizing the industry.

BlakeR38
BlakeR38

Excellent news !

Software monopolies like Microsoft's IE fiasco fail over time, and hinder fairness and competition. The more smaller app players we have - the better it is. Well done, St. Louis. And welcome!

Sheila Smith
Sheila Smith

Lyft should be freed. It is all politics.. Sad

Matt Cook
Matt Cook

"This isn't ridesharing, so your drivers are professionals, not people looking to earn a little extra on the side." I don't understand why the taxi companies are spitting on the idea of people doing the job part-time. What exactly is the harm in that and why shoudl a passenger give two craps if their driver is full-time or part-time?

Mark Bland
Mark Bland

Its not about APPS....its about a more affordable ride.

Zac Nevill
Zac Nevill

the cab system in stl is hit or miss. if you are in a hot spot on a thurs thru sat you are good. if you actually need a ride and have time constraints it pretty much sucks

Deb Woods
Deb Woods

People complain all the time that our Downtown is dead - and for good reason! I had a client staying at a hotel near the airport. I live in South City so we were going to meet for dinner in Downtown on a Sunday at 6p. Only problem was his hotel called 6 different cab companies for a ride Downtown and 5 flat out said NO they didn't want the fare (too short of a distance) and 1 said yes but estimated his pickup time would be 2 HOURS - and they had cabs idling at the airport 5 minutes from him! I knew cab service was atrocious in this City but man do we need better options!! That's ridiculous! There we were ready to go to our deserted Downtown & spend a few bucks but nope! He ate dinner at his hotel. We need to rid ourselves of the crooked & corrupt taxi cab commission here in STL. They are killing competition!

samuel.roby
samuel.roby

Uber/Lyft monopoly orchestrated by offshore interest is not what our barely surviving local economies need. Technology is not a concern. Hundreds of local transportation companies, and whole cities - are now offering their own apps... Philly, St. Lois and more to join the ranks. There is absolutely no need to always use only the most advertised and self-promoting apps. I say use your local apps, and support your local businesses. We have seen what Walmart and Enron type of mega-corporations do to local economies - short-term profit and long-term annihilation of our local heritage.  

Ron Clements
Ron Clements

I saw a link to Uber, which is hiring, but didn't know what it is.

Natasha Baker
Natasha Baker

That's if they even show up at all. Taxis are not reliable in St. Louis.

Megg Ray
Megg Ray

I dont understand why we cant have options? All this monopoly crap is kind of outdated. Look at the Northeast, they have options in rides, energy providers, internet/television, hearing/cooling etc.. we need to stop always outdating ourselves, let competiors compete. Thats why its a democracy.

Elizabeth Cyr
Elizabeth Cyr

Times are a changin' and if the taxi union doesn't want to keep up, let them pay the price. On more than one occasion I have waited an HOUR for a taxi. It should be about keeping drunk drivers off the road more efficiently than keeping taxi drivers happy.

Eugene Oksman
Eugene Oksman

Consumers can't also pay more, be driven in inferior cars, and wait longer. The quality gap will only widen with time because of regulatory projection.

David Goldstick
David Goldstick

Carmel isn't ride sharing. Only uberX and Lyft are. Since the latter are decentralized, you get quicker service. They're also about 20% cheaper. Two good reasons why the MTC has fought so vehemently to prevent consumer choice in St. Louis.

David Goldstick
David Goldstick

Uber provides a better, differentiated service than County Cab. For example, no local taxi offers high end sedans, SUV's, or luxury cars for taxis. The MTC and their 80 pages of rules won't even allow that. Anyway, taxis are fucking slow and never around when you need them.

Josh Koester
Josh Koester

Carmel is another ride sharing app that works in StL.

Kevin Chau
Kevin Chau

Uber is offering free ice cream today. Not offered in StL

peppy
peppy

i like the way this rudawsky gal talks. i like the crap out of it!

Smokey_Joe
Smokey_Joe

This guy figured it out guys. The reason downtown is dead is because cab drivers won't take people from the airport to downtown. Oh wait, that happens 10,000 times a day.

Smokey_Joe
Smokey_Joe

Not sure what you're basing that on, I've travelled extensively and cab rates are cheaper here than in any larger city I've been to.

Smokey_Joe
Smokey_Joe

There are fifteen different cab companies to choose from in St. Louis. I don't think you understand what a monopoly is.

Smokey_Joe
Smokey_Joe

What taxi service anywhere offers premium sedans? Call a car service you cheap jackass. Do you complain when you go to mcdonalds and can't order filet mignon?

jaco1175
jaco1175 topcommenter

@Smokey_Joe because these people are simply making shit up so they can bitch about not being able to partake in the latest trend, the pink mustache douchemobile

jaco1175
jaco1175 topcommenter

@Smokey_Joe it's simple, it's trendy to pretend you are a libertarian twatwaffle and blather about 'free markets' and pretend you are oppressed.

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