In a time when ridesharing apps are becoming more numerous than cabs at Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport, Yellow Cab CEO John Camillo touts safety, customer service, consistency and reliability as worth the extra cost.
“Every cab company is mandated to charge the same amount. I cannot distinguish ourselves based on price but I can distinguish ourselves based on service,” said Camillo, who oversees a fleet of 550 cabs and 1,000 independent contractor drivers – the largest in Broward.
“My rates are mandated by Broward County and we’re required to use a meter that is regulated by the Florida Department of Agriculture. So, I can’t charge what I want to charge.”
But ridesharing with Uber, Lyft and others doesn’t always mean cheaper.
When Uber, Lyft and others enact surge pricing on New Year’s Eve and other peak days, Yellow Cab’s rates don’t go up. Customers get charged the same on New Year’s Eve as they do on any other day. “What we have is consistent pricing.” Unlike Uber and Lyft, there also aren’t any cancellation fees with Yellow Cab. The company doesn’t charge anything unless the service is used.
The drivers also can’t cancel a ride on the customer. Once a driver commits to picking up a customer, Yellow Cab makes that driver follow through. In the industry, it’s called “redlining.” To prevent it, Camillo said the drivers don’t know where they’re going until they accept the fare. After that, they can’t back out. Driving the customer to their destination is the only way to get off the ride, so to speak. “They’re obligated to pick up a trip. They can’t cancel it.”
And then there’s the safety factor.
“When you call to get a taxi cab, it will look like one. There’s a safety factor there. [When you call an Uber], he may not be an Uber driver at all. It’s really legalized hitchhiking.”
Along with an FBI background check, “We have our drivers screened by the county, which now includes finger printing. We know we’ve done all we can. I will hold our safety standards up to anyone else in Broward County.”
He makes the same claim on customer service.
Camillo points to two drivers as examples of Yellow Cab’s customer service.
Nevoyel Belonce and Michael Trotter both received SUNsational Service Courtesy Awards, which are given out to employees in the tourism industry who go above and beyond. “One of the first people that you run into when you get off an airplane is a cab driver. Yellow Cab is the only company that had an award winner two years in a row.”
He credits that to Yellow Cab’s training.
“We do have a fairly extensive customer service class that every driver sits through once a year.”
That training includes providing service to individuals with disabilities and individuals with service animals. Drivers are also prohibited and prevented from avoiding certain areas they might not like. That goes back to Yellow Cab’s use of technology.
There’s also always someone waiting to take customer service calls – even on holidays.
“They don’t have to go through a call center.” And the complaints addressed range from the quality of drivers to the route taken. If a customer feels like their driver took a longer/more expensive route, Camillo says Yellow Cab will review the route taken. “We will reimburse them if they went the long way.”
Camillo hopes that level of service distinguishes his company from the rest, especially at the airport where customers can choose which company they want to use. They don’t have to take the first cab in line at the cab stand. “That’s why our signage [at the airport] says ‘Ask for Yellow Cab. We’re waiting at the curb.’”
Although technology defines Uber and Lyft, Camillo said his company has used it long before those companies were conceived.
By downloading 4MyCab FL, customers can use their smartphones to get a Yellow Cab. It’s an app that came online the same year as Uber – 2010. Owned by the same family since 1960, the company started using computers to dispatch vehicles in 1976, has used GPS to dispatch vehicles since 2002 and added cameras in its fleet in 2013. Hybrid cars were added in 2013.
“We’ve always tried to up our game in response to available technology.”
Visit YellowCabBroward.com for more information.