Friday, February 12, 2016

That New York City Taxi App, ARRO might use some improvement

As some of you know, I am a 69 year old veteran New York City taxi driver. Generally I drive whatever taxi my dispatcher has available for me four nights per week. I work more or less twelve hours a night. I don't own a medallion.

A few months ago the App ARRO was installed into thousands of taxis. It's not a smart phone app as far as the drivers are concerned, though of course for passengers it is a smart phone app. I always have been skeptical of the mix of taxi hail app and New York street hail (yellow) taxis. (Well, for the past few years). Back in 2013 I wrote a piece for the online Guardian that pretty much demolished Hailo in New York City. The management at Hailo weren't enough on the ball to take steps to prevent that article from appearing on their first Google search page in New York, and I know it hurt them. As of now Hailo doesn't operate in North America.

ARRO does not raise the same objections regarding driver and public safety that Hailo did. I do, however find a couple of problems with it that I hope can be improved upon. I suppose there is no way for the app to "know" what direction the taxi driver is moving in when he or she gets a ping. Also, I guess the app cannot "know" that the car being called is stuck in a traffic jam. That's too bad. Generally in "Yellow taxi land" (that's Manhattan south of West 110th Street and East 96th Street) I only get a ping when I am stuck in terrible traffic.There's no way I am going to accept a ping under that circumstance, unless I know where the passenger is, and that's my big beef with ARRO: The driver must first accept the ping in order to find out where it is coming from. This has led me to "bail out" on many ARRO pings. I accept it and find out that it is too far away and taking me too far from my passenger base to be worthwhile for me. Now, I get the impression that ARRO is in a bit of trouble, because of two things:

1- I get pings when I am in the depths of Brooklyn late late at night. I winder why a green taxi, which outnumber yellows in that time and place, isn't responding to this ping. My guess is for whatever reason Green taxi drivers have decided that they do not profit from this app.
2- When I "bail out" on a ping I get a message telling me that I am in jeopardy of not getting another call soon, yet as often as not I do get one fairly promptly after I have bailed out on one. This tells me that ARRO does not have many reliable drivers responding to its calls.

Now, I'm just a taxi driver. Maybe a lot of thought went into the decision not to let a driver know where their prospective passenger is until they've accepted the job..I'm sure I'm not the only one who bails out around half the time and.if that's true, ARRO has a number of ex customers spreading bad news about the app.

1 comment:

  1. I could see the taxi app for NYC really helping a lot of people. With Uber coming out it must make work for a taxi driver a little more competitive. I could see an app similar to uber come out for taxi services. It really isn't too far off from becoming something like that.