Timing is Everything. Sort of….

It’s been a while since my last blog. Guess that’s partially why timing is the subject of this one.

When you know you want to go somewhere, it USUALLY isn’t an emergency. You can think about what you need to take, how long of a trip it will be, how long you will stay and how you will get there. Sometimes that planning lets you know that you really don’t want to worry about driving while tired, intoxicated, etc. That’s where a good, reliable (did I mention ABLE) taxi service can come into the discussion.

One of the more important aspects of travel, if you actually have a schedule you want to adhere to, is “When do I have to leave in order to get there on time?” In many families this departure time is further modified by adding extra time to herd kids, relatives and pets together prior to vehicle loading.

Planning a trip while sober is relatively easy. Introduce alcohol and “poof” you have instant confusion. Add a drunk friend and, well… yeah.

I firmly believe that when someone becomes impaired by alcohol, the first thing to go is judgement. The next thing is probably the sense of time. I can’t count the number of times someone will get into the cab for a ride home or to a friend’s place, we drive 5 blocks and they declare they have been in the cab for 30 minutes and “we should be there by now”. 5 more blocks brings “I’ve been in this cab for 15 minutes and we should be there by now”. In some of these cases, 5 more blocks brings snoring… if the driver is lucky. If not, these passengers tend to be the loudest, more boisterous of the bunch. At least they haven’t gotten too violent.

Not sure why I shared that other than to let you know that the life of a bar time taxi driver isn’t all cookies and cream.

Timing.. ok.

Plan ahead. You know before you leave for the bar when bar close is. If you are the non bar-hopping type and know you will be staying in one place for the night, why not call ahead and try to reserve a ride at a specific time so you know you won’t have to compete as badly as others for your ride home? I say “try” only because many cab companies won’t take bar time reservations because their drivers like to “fish” rather than have to travel to a location and be limited to one fare. Which, quite honestly, can turn into a no-show because, as I mentioned earlier the first thing to go is the passenger’s judgement.

That being said, your best bet is to call and schedule a taxi pickup from a reliable taxi company like Able Taxi and Tours LLC. We always communicate with you so you know what the status of your ride is.

We look forward to serving your transportation needs, whether it is to go to the bar, the grocery store or a day trip to Wisconsin Dells with your family.

ABLE TAXI… WHAT A BRIGHT IDEA!

Trust

TRUST is a simple word, but it is central to all human interactions.

Operating a taxi service in Green Bay, Wisconsin is no exception.

When a passenger calls for a taxi, they TRUST that the person on the side of the conversation will understand their request as far as where and when the pick up must be made. The taxi company representative TRUSTS that the requester is legitimate, and not a competitor or someone else just messing with them.

What if the taxi, for whatever reason, fails to arrive on time? I would like to think that the Green Bay passenger can TRUST that the taxi company will call them to let them know the status of their incoming taxicab. I know that is what we do here at Able Taxi and Tours LLC. Unfortunately, that is not universal, with some local taxi companies having a very poor record in that regard.

Once the taxi arrives for the pick up at the appointed time and place, the passenger then must TRUST that the driver is then in full control of him/herself and of the vehicle, and they TRUST that this will continue until the drop off point. The passenger must also TRUST that the driver and the company they work for are properly licensed and insured for the purpose of transporting people from one place to another.

LOCAL HINT: Look for the taxi driver’s Green Bay Public Vehicle Driver’s License being displayed in a fixed holder in plain view of the passenger. Look for a current Green Bay or De Pere City Taxi Permit stickers on the right rear window. If these are not present as required by Green Bay ordinance, my advice to you is to exit the cab immediately and seek a more reputable taxi ride to your destination.

During the trip, the taxi driver must TRUST that the passenger is not up to any activity that could cause a major distraction that could cause an accident. The driver must TRUST that the passenger has enough self control, even with the intake of alcohol and/or mind-altering substances, to not cause the driver any physical or mental harm. The driver must TRUST that the passenger and he/she have the same goal: to get the passenger safely to their destination.

My point is that there are vulnerabilities evident on both sides of the business arrangement that need to be considered. The passenger is not necessarily the only vulnerable part of the equation. The driver must focus on many things besides the passenger, while the passenger is free to think up all sorts of mischief.

This is being written the morning after an incident where one of the drivers for Able Taxi and Tours LLC was “battered” (legal term) by a passenger. This was presumably because of too much intake of alcohol, but no one can know for sure the inner workings of someone else’s mind. FYI, the driver was injured, but not severely and the police have been notified.

A good way to maximize the TRUST factor in using a taxi in Green Bay is to research your cab before your trip to and from any venue where you may be drinking alcohol and will need reliable transportation home. You only have to do it once. If you find a taxi company that meets your needs and you TRUST them to do the right thing, then you are done. Just sit back, relax, and TRUST.

ABLE TAXI… WHAT A BRIGHT IDEA!

At Last.. A Big Job

Yesterday marked the start of our 7th month in business. Or, if you prefer, the start of our second 6th months of operation. Either way, it feels like we are more stable than last week.

This week also heralded our first “Big Job” for a client that had a dozen people flying into and out of Green Bay. Able Taxi provided all of their transportation from airport to hotel to meeting to hotel to airport. (Yeah, that’s a sentence. Look it up. :p)

What we learned: if you don’t write down who rides where and on what day, it can really cause stress for the admin staff when they have to put it all together in billable form. Also, make sure your rookie driver actually can find the meeting location so the latecomer can still make their appointment. Uh huh.. that one was close.

The cool thing is that it is my understanding that 100% of the people we transported made unsolicited positive comments to our client about how friendly, conscientious and helpful our drivers were. They also liked our clean, smoke-free vans. It’s nice to know someone appreciates it when we meet our own standards.

Quite honestly, for a few moments it felt like herding cats, but it all worked out and we learned a lot.

Able Taxi and Tours passed its first big test with flying colors. We are looking forward to the next big test so we can achieve our goals by helping others achieve theirs.

Who knows? You could be our next satisfied client. That would be nice.

ABLE TAXI… WHAT A BRIGHT IDEA!

OK… So I’m Trashed…. Now What?

On more occasions than I can easily count, we at Able Taxi have been called upon to get someone home that, let’s just say, has a “hard time remembering” where they live once they get in one of our taxis. Sometimes they stumble into the cab by themselves. Sometimes they are assisted by well-meaning friends or acquaintances. Sometimes they are “poured” into the cab by bar security or the police so they don’t have to deal with them. (The police at least ask if we want a fare and then make sure the passenger has the ability to pay for the trip.)

Sometimes, (and here is the big one) they change their destination several times during the drive based on… God knows what reasons.

Laugh if you must. However, in both male and female drivers there comes a time when they wonder, when driving a drunken stranger to a “possible” address in the middle of nowhere in the country outside of Green Bay proper, “Is this where I am going to die?” Yes. I AM serious.

We, as business people, have several options when confronted with “The Trashed” passenger.

1) Asking/Strongly suggesting that the person leave the cab. They are taking a spot that someone who is coherent and equally in need of a cab could use. This may seem like the easiest option, but not always. Depending on the size and general level of consciousness and cooperation of the passenger, motivating or assisting them out of the cab could turn into quite a chore. Not to mention that they then could turn violent and try to break things on or near the cab. We try to steer clear of this one when at all possible. However, we believe we can exercise this option, even if half-way to the intended destination, based on safety concerns. We can even involve the police if the need arises.

2) Finding out if they have friends in the immediate area that can help to determine where they should be going. Sometimes the passenger was traveling with a group and just hit their limit before the rest of their party and got separated for some reason. This option may involve our taxi driver having to exit the vehicle, leaving the passenger alone with the driver’s personal and professional belongings. This is not a situation that provides our drivers with a “warm and fuzzy” feeling.

3) Asking the passenger for their Driver’s License. MOST of the time this will give our driver their current address so they can verify that is the same place they were told to go to in the first place. Big problem is that very drunk and possibly sleeping passengers may not be the most cooperative when it comes to letting you see their ID. It sometimes takes all of our drivers’ “people skills” in order to convince a “trashed” passenger to pull out their wallets and dig for an ID. (Don’t get me started on the coordination, or lack thereof, of the passenger just trying to do that simple task.)

4) Asking the passenger to call a friend to verify their destination address. I believe it is at 3:30 AM that you find out who your real friends are. Nuf said.

Those are pretty much the scenarios. Here is one possible, simple way to help everyone concerned.

Before you go out on the town drinking, make up a couple of note cards with basic information that can help anyone to get you to the right place. If you know you will be staying in one spot all night, give one to the bartender or to a friend in the bar. Make them realize you are asking for their possible help and give them a chance to opt out. Keep the other copy in your shirt or pants pocket.

Suggested format:

IF DRUNK, PLEASE DELIVER BY TAXI
ME: Your First Name and Your Last Initial
DESCRIPTION: Color of your shirt or jacket, hair color
TO: Your Destination Address
OR CALL: Good Friend’s Name
AT: Good Friend’s Phone Number

Don’t be like the drunk guy on You Tube that wrote his name and address on his big belly. That’s just tacky and slightly creepy, imho.

A brief word on paying for the taxi in one of these scenarios. “Trashed” passengers run the gamut when it comes to trust. Some are suspicious of the cab driver asking for money while others will just hand over their wallet or a wad of cash to the driver. Here is where, I believe, a great number of “trashed” passengers get ripped off (or so I have been told). This could come in the form of charging $7 to take someone from home to bar then $21 to take them back from bar to home, or just taking money out of their pockets/wallets that wasn’t earned.

Our company guidance to all of our drivers is to ask the passenger to count out the money with them, verbally and loudly, so they have a chance to know what they are paying (if possible). Our drivers are instructed to NOT accept ANY tips from a “trashed” passenger. There is an argument that the taxi driver really did earn a big tip, just for having to deal with an extremely difficult passenger that takes extra time and effort. We reject that. We believe that by providing that extra customer service, in the long run we stand a good chance of becoming the taxi of choice for that passenger’s family and friends. Besides, we believe it is the right thing to do and how we would want to be treated if we ever became disadvantaged like that.

Hopefully I have provided you with food for thought and at the same time stated some possible differences between Able Taxi and Tours LLC drivers and a few of our competitors. We look forward to serving your upcoming transportation needs.

ABLE TAXI… WHAT A BRIGHT IDEA!

The New Year

Now that the rush of the Christmas and New Year are behind us, as well as perhaps the last Green Bay Packers’ home game, it’s time for us to look forward into what is in store for 2013, as well as what role you, as the potential passenger, can play in this great adventure we call “Taxi Rides” in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

A seldom discussed event occurred a little over a year ago. Green Bay Law Department wrote an ordinance dealing with the licensing and conduct of any and all Taxicab Companies in Green Bay. If you Google “Green Bay Ordinances”, the first listing should lead you to all of the city ordinances. Look under Chapter 6.21 to get to the good stuff regarding “Public Vehicle Licensing”.

It is my understanding that the Green Bay City Law Department is in the process of updating/tweaking most of the licensing ordinances, but I think the basics will be staying the same.

The importance of this ordinance for you, the potential rider, is basically two-fold.

1) If the ordinance is fully enforced, you can be assured that if and when you get into a licensed Taxi in Green Bay you will know that the vehicle is maintained and inspected to be safe (at least one time per year) and your driver has successfully passed several background checks before they were issued their Public Vehicle Driver’s License (aka a Hard Card) through the city (this, too, happens once a year).

2) If the ordinance is fully enforced, you can check with the City Clerk’s office and get a copy of every cab company’s current fare rates. The companies, by ordinance, cannot charge you any more than the rates they submit to the city. These same rates have to be on display in each taxicab, as well. This is to reduce the chance you will get ripped off by any cab driver. When Able Taxi and Tours LLC became aware of the ordinance (just before the New Year) and then became compliant to this section the next day, we were only the third (of 16?) taxicab company in Green Bay to have their current rates on file with the city clerk. Hopefully that number has increased since then.

Here is what you, the potential passenger, can do to enhance your taxi experience in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

1) Look at the outside lower right hand portion of each cab’s rear window you get into to make sure they have a valid 2013 vehicle license sticker. If the vehicle doesn’t have the sticker, chances are they don’t have enough (or any) insurance to cover you in case of an accident while you are in the taxi. Best advice: get another cab, i.e., call Able Taxi and Tours LLC at 920-265-7760.

2) Look for each driver’s city-issued Hard Card when you get into the cab. It is printed on the front of each license that,”This card must be displayed at all times in a fixed conspicuous place in view of your passengers”. If you can’t see their Hard Card, ask to see it. If they cannot show it to you, my best advice is for you to exit the taxi because your personal safety may be in jeopardy.

Hopefully this will help you in your search for good public vehicle transportation in Green Bay. We look forward to being your “go to” Taxi Company.

ABLE TAXI… WHAT A BRIGHT IDEA!

After a Packer Game

Now that we had our first bad weather Packer Game, it is a good time to go over some tips on how to get a taxi ride in Green Bay after a big event.

If you have experienced bar close after a evening/night game here in Titletown, you know that getting a taxi can be quite a stressful time, even in good weather.  Add in low temperatures and some messy white heaven droppings and the situation can get downright intolerable for both the drivers and passengers.

Our drivers want to get as many people safely to their destinations as quickly as possible because it a) saves lives and b) makes more money (just keepin’ it real…).  What they don’t want is to have a 5 minute discussion with 10 people trying to steal a ride from someone who called us and made a reservation.  Unfortunately, this is the case most of the time after bar close on Packer Game nights.  This exchange leads to frustration, hurt feelings and loss of income.  Truly a bummer for all concerned.

There are, however, a few things you can do to prepare yourself to avoid many of these hassles while using Able Taxi’s services.

1.  Have a “designated dialer”.  This is someone who is in your group and doesn’t drink heavily and has a reliable phone, preferably with texting capabilities. That way you have someone with you that can talk to us coherently and remember the details of where and when your pick up will be.  The texting capability helps when in loud bars, etc. along with helping to make sure everyone understands what arrangements have been made.

2.  Separate yourself from the “walking dead”.  These are bands of drunks that shuffle toward any taxi that stops within 50 yards of them, waving their hands and shouting random phrases.  A good place to stand when in the Lambeau Field area and still be in good position to see a taxi is either at the corner of Potts and Holmgren or the corner of Holmgren and Lombardi.  Arranging a pick up at or around Brett Favre’s Steak House or at the Green Bay Distillery are the best ideas of them all, in my opinion.

3.  Plan to leave your chosen bar at least 30 minutes before bar close.  Sure, you may miss a few minutes with that hot gal or guy that had no intention of going home with you but liked the free drinks anyway, but at least you will be better able (get it?) to get home in a reasonable amount of time.

If you follow these simple suggestions, you have an improved chance of hailing (and keeping) a cab from just about any cab company.  Did I just say that????

All of us here at Able Taxi and Tours hope you have a safe and pleasant experience after your next Packer Game or major event.  Please remember that we live to get you safely and efficiently to your destinations.

ABLE TAXI… WHAT A BRIGHT IDEA!

The Ghost List

There are some who would say “stay positive” when blogging about your business or you will turn your customers off.  Perhaps they are right on the mark, but since Able Taxi and Tours LLC plans on doing things differently to change the public’s perception of the Taxicab business in the Green Bay Area, sometimes we will have to address some touchy subjects.  Sooo… here goes.

The Ghost Run

When someone (let’s call him Bob) calls for a taxi ride, in our mind and in the mind of most (if not all) cab drivers, Bob has just entered into a verbal contract to use that cab company’s services.  If Bob changes his mind while still on the phone or calls back immediately to cancel the trip, that is acceptable behavior.

However…

Ghost Run Scenario #1:  If Bob waits 5 minutes to cancel and the driver has already made it a substantial way toward Bob’s location, that cancellation just cost our driver and the company money in both time and gas, as well as possibly affecting other scheduled pickups.  This means that Bob has broken his verbal contract with the company and Bob’s “trust factor” has gone down significantly.

Ghost Run Scenario #2: If Bob plays the game of, “Call Several Cabs and See Who Shows Up First” and our driver shows up to an empty pick up point, this means that Bob has broken his verbal contract with the company and Bob’s “trust factor” has gone down significantly.

Ghost Run Scenario #3: If Bob is too drunk to remember which Taxi Company he called and gets into another Taxi just because it appears in front of him, this means that Bob has broken his verbal contract with the company and Bob’s “trust factor” has gone down significantly.

Hopefully the above paints a picture of broken promises, smashed dreams and the “crossing of the streams” (See Ghostbusters Movie) and how those behaviors are just not nice.

Any one of those possible Ghost Run Scenarios could land the phone number (or possibly address of the pick up location) on our company’s “Ghost List”.  That means that we will no longer accept requests for Taxi Services from that number (or possibly that pick up location).

If this policy seems harsh to anyone, we invite them to try to put themselves in our drivers’ shoes after having two or more Ghost Runs in a row on a busy night.  Perhaps that could change views of what is a pretty common bad behavior.

I am sorry that this had to come out this way, but we at Able Taxi and Tours LLC believe that communication is the path to better understanding.

Have a blessed day. 🙂

Something To Be Thankful For

As the Able Taxi and Tours LLC fleet grows at a rapid pace, all of us are pausing to give thanks for our many blessings.  Among these blessings are the love and support of friends and family, wonderful opportunities and the many nice people that want to use our services.

We hope that this Thanksgiving weekend is fulfilling and safe for everyone in the Green Bay area.  And, should the need arise, we look forward to your phone call or text so we can get you quickly and safely to your chosen destinations.

And Then There Were Three…

What an exciting time!  Able Taxi just acquired it’s third vehicle.  Of course, it HAD to be another Silhouette.

While we all wait for the new Minivan to assume it’s destiny color (Bright Orange), we get to do all the fun things like a) stand in line at the DMV, b) get erroneously told we needed a Motor Carrier number to register a taxicab, c) go on a wild goose chase to try to run the MC rumor down, d) return later in the day to once again stand in line at the DMV after they figured out they were mistaken (and actually apologized for the error, which was cool) and e) get insurance squared away.

Look for the new addition to make a debut sometime next week.  The debut might be accompanied by some pretty important news about Able Taxi’s next direction.

Stay tuned…

Our First Update

Now that our third month of operation is almost ending, I have a chance to look around and see what we have accomplished.

From a standing start, basically at the beginning of the 2012 Green Bay Packer season, we began with two bright orange minivans and two drivers.  Through coverage at Austin Straubel Airport, Green Bay area bars on the weekend and special events like Packer games we have steadily increased our exposure in the community.

With our appearance on Google search “Green Bay Taxi” we continue to be able to impact the lives of both local riders as well as tech-savvy visitors by getting them to their destinations in a safe and timely manner.

We look forward to serving your travel needs.  Just give us a call or text us at 920-265-7760.