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Austin Needs More Cabs

RECEIVED Tue., Nov. 6, 2012

Dear Editor,
    For years, I have worked at a business that depends on cabs to get people around the city and to the airport. Taxi service in Austin is fine unless something is actually going on – like ACL, SXSW, Halloween, Fourth of July, or the other hundreds of events that happen in this city. Then the service is next to worthless. I thought that maybe the problem was that cab companies were just a bit behind in a city that is growing so fast. I have been hoping for a while that something would change and that there would eventually be more cabs. Now I read that the cab drivers don’t want to compete with more cab drivers: "Council: Call Me 30 More Cabs?" [News, Nov. 2].
    Well, the cab drivers are shooting themselves in the foot – because the more they are unavailable and unreliable, the less people will attempt to even use them. During busy Austin events, my business has already given up on them and tries to convince people to make some other arrangement, either with a car service or car rental. So Yellow Cab, Austin Cab, and Lone Star Cab are already losing our business. There have been way too many times where even scheduling a cab for a pickup a day in advance does not guarantee that a cab will really show up. Yellow Cab really pushes for you to use their online service, but try that on any day and about three out of five of those cabs turn up on schedule. If there is something big going on like ACL, you can call and schedule Yellow Cabs but it’s a complete waste because they don’t ever arrive. And when you call them and ask what’s up? They act like you are nuts for expecting a cab when it’s such a busy time, and they claim to have no record that you ordered the cabs the night before. Most of the people that I deal with are world travelers and many complain about how terrible the cab service in Austin is compared to other cities. That’s a pretty terrible thing for a city that is growing and building and continually planning more and more festivals, conferences, races, and events.
    I hope the council will grant the new permits.
Paul Crowe
   [Editor's note: The council granted the permits last Thursday, Nov. 1.]
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