To consolidate, disseminate, and gather information concerning the 710 expansion into our San Rafael neighborhood and into our surrounding neighborhoods. If you have an item that you would like posted on this blog, please e-mail the item to Peggy Drouet at pdrouet@earthlink.net

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Cab service apps begin popping up with rides around Pasadena and L.A.


By Zen Vuong, August 18, 2013

Need a cab? In Pasadena you might be able to hail one with your smartphone.

Several companies have begun offering apps to do just that. Among them are San Francisco-based Uber and Flywheel, both of which recently expanded into the not-so-cab-friendly Southern California market.

That may be about to change. Take Cristine Cardenas, 23, who said she became a loyal Uber fan after using the cab service app three times.

“I like Uber a lot because you have the option to have a really nice car, and that’s kind of fun,” she said. “The first time I went with a friend, I didn’t know what to expect. A BMW came up. The driver was in a suit. It was fun to roll around in a BMW.”

Uber launched in 2009 and serves 35 cities in 18 countries.

Last month it expanded to Pasadena, several communities in the South Bay and the San Fernando Valley. It previously served only the greater Los Angeles metro area.

“Uber is very classy, and it’s very efficient,” co-founder Travis Kalanick said in a 2011 YouTube interview with “TWiST.” “The business is on-demand town car service. Like I push a button on my iPhone or Android or even SMS. I push a button and in five minutes, a car comes. I can see it coming to me (via Google Maps). When it arrives, I get buzzed.”

The City of Los Angeles Taxi Services web page lists more than 2,300 official cabs. But Cardenas said she disliked long waits and having to carry cash around because, she said, drivers often claim their credit card machine is broken.

Uber’s not the only recently unveiled cabbie app. Flywheel recently partnered with L.A.-based Bell Cab Co. to offer service in the South Bay. The company reports it can get a cabdriver to a customer in five to seven minutes.

 Uber is unique because it doesn’t require any cash. Users input their credit card information when they create an account. There are three types of vehicles to choose from, including SUVs.
Clients set a pick-up location and are given an estimated time of arrival. They can also get a fare quote before hailing the cab.

The first time Cardenas used Uber, she said she had to scramble to finish getting ready for a night in Hollywood because four minutes really meant four minutes. Normally she has to wait about half an hour before a cab arrives, she said.

“The first time trying to pay, I didn’t think it’d be that easy,” Cardenas said. “It takes some getting used to ... getting there and then hopping out of a car. The simplicity kind of throws you off.”