1. Driver All-star: Jerry

    Meet Jerry, our Summon All-star of the week! 

    He has been driving with Summon for 10 months! 

    Jerry’s favorite thing about Summon: “My favorite thing about being a Summon Driver is the flexibility of being able to work on demand whenever I want while providing safe, quality transportation for the community I serve.”

    Fun fact about Jerry: Jerry has a karaoke microphone in his SUV for some extra fun! If you get matched with him you can sing with friends to kill the time on your commute! Sounds like a Super-Summon experience to us :-)

    *Picture of Jerry in the Summon office*

  2. Summon now cheaper than UberX and Lyft!

    Big announcement alert : ) We’ve made some major pricing changes that make Summon the most affordable ridesharing app in the Bay Area - even cheaper than UberX and Lyft!

    Check out these changes, effective today:

    1. Price Drop
    We’ve dropped our per-minute and per-mile rates (check out our FAQ to see exact rates), and we offer a 10 % FareBack discount on top of that. This makes us cheaper than UberX and Lyft!

    2. FareBack (back by popular demand!)
    With FareBack, we’ll give you 10% of your ride total back as credits. The credits are automatically applied to future Summon rides. FareBack applies to your first 10 rides each month.

    3. No Surge!
    If you used us on New Year’s Eve or St. Patrick’s Day, you already know that we’re a big fan of flat fares on event days and during busy times. Instead of surging when you need a ride the most, we use flat fares based only on distance, not on time. You will know how much your ride will cost before the ride starts.

    We think these changes will make it more delightful than ever to Summon a ride. Happy Summoning everyone!

    Pricing comparison*:

    *the costs shown are for Personal Drivers.

  3. O% (Yes, Zero!) Credit Card Processing Fees and Same Day Deposit for Taxi and Commercial Drivers

    We at Summon believe that the key to a great service is taking care of those who receive the service (our awesome riders!) and those who provide it (our awesome drivers!). Starting today, taxi and commercial drivers will be able to save thousands of dollars with the Summon Swiper, a credit card swiper featuring 0% processing fees for the first two months of use and fees lower than Square after that.

    Taxi and commercial drivers have been vital to helping our company grow, and this is our way of giving back to them by helping them keep more of what they earn. Summon rides requested through the app will still be processed with a mobile payment using the rider’s credit card on file. The swiper allows taxi and commercial drivers to accept credit card payment without hefty processing fees for rides outside of the Summon app. For example, taxis can use the swiper for streethails, and commercial drivers can use it when they accept rides dispatched to them by their limo company.

    The swiper helps drivers save money on every ride. Amrik Malhi, who has been a Bay Area taxi driver for over 25 years, said, “It’s about saving money and having a one stop solution for what I need. If I accept $4000 in credit card payments in a month, I save at least $680 in a year by using Summon’s swiper. My friends in Boston who pay 6% fees would save nearly $1700 per year.” For the first two months of a driver’s swiper use, we charge no processing fees. After that, we charge 2.5% per transaction. This is cheaper than Square (which currently charges 2.75% per transaction) and taxi company credit card readers (which can charge up to 10% per transaction).

    Taxi and commercial drivers already face many financial obstacles, and our swiper is designed to make the industry more financially viable for them. For example, taxi drivers are often responsible for cab leasing fees, airport trip fees, maintenance fees if they’re lucky enough to own a taxi, and more. The money that drivers save on credit card processing fees from the swiper is money that they can use to offset other costs.

    We also work with a leading payment processor to ensure same or next day deposits in drivers’ bank accounts for swiper charges.

    Taxi and commercial drivers can email drivers@summon.com to get a swiper.

    Sign up to drive (receive in-app requests) at summon.com/drive/.

    Get the Summon rider app for iPhone and Android.

  4. Great new features for Android users!

                            image

    Awesome news for our Android customers: we just released a bunch of new features that will allow Android users to take full advantage of Summon.

    Here’s what’s new:

    • Invite friends - Your friends get $20, and you get $10 when they take their first ride
    • View your past trips, payment history, and rating history within the app
    • Add multiple credit cards to your account
    • Push notification support
    • Bug fixes!

    Get all the new features here

  5. Summon Drivers: Stay Healthy With Special Insurance Rates!

    We’re announcing an exclusive perk for all Summon (formerly InstantCab) drivers: access to the best health insurance plans in California at discounted rates! We teamed up with SimplyInsured, an online health insurance manager, to make available affordable health insurance for all our drivers and their families. Summon drivers can instantly get insurance quotes, view available plans, and sign up for insurance.

    Because drivers for Summon and competing services are not employed by the transportation app companies, they often lack access to quality affordable health insurance. This is especially a problem for Personal drivers, who, unlike Taxi drivers, don’t have the support system of a taxi company.

    Our partnership with SimplyInsured is designed to address this problem. Although the cost of health insurance premiums and any associated fees would be the driver’s responsibility, having access to affordable health care means that more people will have the flexibility to join and remain in this industry.

    More than half of our drivers fall into the 30-49 age bracket. A 30-year-old Summon driver could get an Anthem Blue Cross insurance plan for a $250 monthly premium that includes prescription drug, preventive care, mental health, and pregnancy coverage.

    We care about making drivers feel safe, happy, and comfortable on and off the road. We encourage our drivers to take charge of their health by purchasing insurance for themselves and their families.

    —-

    People interested in driving with Summon can sign up here today! In addition to the Bay Area, we are accepting applications from drivers in Los Angeles, New York, and Boston.

  6. Could You Be In The “Lucky Summon 7”?

    imageWe wish you a happy St. Patrick’s Day with our “Lucky Summon 7” promo, which gives you the chance to win Summon credits just by opening your Summon app! These credits will come in handy on your way to and from St. Paddy’s day bashes all over the Bay Area!

    All you need to do to be eligible to win credits is have your Summon app open on Saturday, March 15 from 8 - 11 PM. Every hour (8-9 PM, 9-10 PM, and 10-11PM), we’ll randomly choose 7 lucky winners who have their app open to instantly receive a $10 Summon credit. Winners will be notified that the Luck of the Irish was upon them : )

    7 is a lucky number according to Irish tradition, and now according to Summon tradition as well! Have a great holiday weekend : )

  7. Congrats To Kristy, Our Valentines Day Contest Winner!

    Earlier this month for Valentines Day, we asked Summon (formerly InstantCab) riders to share a funny, sweet, or interesting story about transportation for a chance to win dinner for two at a restaurant of their choice and a Summon personal or taxi driver for the evening. Summon rider Kristy thought we were pulling her leg when we told her she was the winner of the contest. “I’m totally stoked! Who knew I would actually win something?” was Kristy’s reaction, but Kristy was very deserving of our grand prize.

    We’ve all left things behind in cabs. Kristy shared a compelling story about a time when she didn’t regret forgetting something in a cab! Kristy left her phone in a NYC cab while on the way to a friend’s house. Once she reached her friend’s home and realized her phone was missing, she called her own number from her friend’s phone. After three tries, a guy named Brian answered. He said he noticed the phone in the cab and took hold of it in the hopes the owner would call. Kristy went to meet Brian and retrieve her phone, taking a six-pack of beer with her as a thank you gift. As fate would have it, Brian ended up being tall, dark, and handsome. He and Kristy enjoyed some of the beer, hit it off, and even dated for a while! How cool is it that losing a phone had a happy ending! And it all started with a cab ride….: )

    Kristy is a power Summon user. Here’s what she had to say about Summon, transportation, and her life in SF:


    Summon: Tell us a little about yourself!

    Kristy: I live in San Francisco but have also lived in New York and Rome as well as a few other cities in California. I’m the head of HR for a small advertising agency here in the city and love it…such a creative group. I’m a huge Giants fan, and I think the highlight of my life so far was being one of the people who brought the large American flag out onto the field before Game 6 of the 2012 NLCS. In my free time, I am out and about in the city like most people at restaurants, bars, speaker events, and shows. If it’s baseball season you’re very likely to find me at a Giants game. I love to get out of the city to Sonoma County for some wine tasting or just across the bay to Tiburon to enjoy the scenery, weather, and tasty drinks at Sam’s. I also love crabbing (crab fishing)!

    Summon: You seem to have a very active lifestyle! Where do you usually go when you Summon a ride?

    Kristy: I usually use Summon to meet up with friends and really go anywhere in the city. Sometimes even the Richmond because it just takes too long to get out there by bus.

    Summon: How did you find out about Summon?


    Kristy: A coworker told me!

    Summon: Have you met any other interesting people using transportation since your Good Samaritan incident?


    Kristy: Yes. When I was using a different cab hailing service, the driver was a happy surprise. She had candy and music from the early 90’s, and it was an amazing ride!

    Congratulations again Kristy! We think Summon will give Kristy and all our users many amazing rides to come!!

  8. Summon becomes the first transportation app to be licensed in California as a TNC!

    Today, Summon has become the first Transportation Network Company (TNC) to receive a permit from the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) allowing it to operate in California.

    On-demand transportation apps form a new, exciting, and growing industry. California was the first state in the nation to pave the way for legalization of these types of apps, and Summon was the first company to meet each of California’s requirements and obtain an operating permit. Last September, the CPUC issued a decision requiring TNCs to obtain insurance to protect riders and members of the public in the event of an incident, conduct stringent background checks on drivers, have driver vehicles inspected, and complete several other safety-related steps to operate in California. 

    Being the first company to receive the permit demonstrates Summon’s commitment to rider safety. While we at Summon love innovating and trying new things, we don’t compromise on safety. We believe in taking steps that will give riders more comfort in using new technologies like Summon.

    This milestone follows on the heels of other big announcements we made last week. After getting feedback from more than 10,000 of our riders, we decide to rebrand as Summon from InstantCab and make available to you the choice to Summon personal or taxi rides. Personal rides cost 30 % less than taxi rides. With Summon, you can truly ride the way you want - Personal or Taxi, quietly or while listening to music, relax in the back or sit up front.

    Receiving a permit from California gives us the freedom to introduce Summon to other parts of the state. We hope other states will follow California’s example and embrace new technologies that help people ride the way they want.

  9. A better app, lower prices, and new name (thanks to you!): Introducing summon!

    Over the past several weeks, over 10,000 of you gave us feedback on how we can improve. For a startup like us, nothing is more valuable than direct customer feedback. That is what helps us grow and gives direction to our company. 

    The main thing you asked for was 
    the Power to ride the way you want. Today we are announcing the first set of changes (more to come!) that give you this power.

    image

     The Power to Choose Personal or Taxi rides: You can choose to get a ride with either Personal drivers or Taxi drivers now (or choose Both if you just want the nearest driver). 

     Lower fares on Personal rides: Personal rides are now up to 30% less than Taxi rides! There is also no need to tip. It’s up to you how to reward great service. 

     24 hours to set a tip (completely optional): You now have 24 hours after each ride to set a tip, if you’d like.

     A $1 fee for Taxi rides: We’ll add a $1 convenience fee to each Taxi ride. Summon Taxi drivers commit to never canceling on a rider. If you ever have a bad experience, please email us so we can address it asap.

      More drivers, Better service: We tripled the number of drivers in January. Demand keeps growing, but we are continuously adding more drivers to support increased demand. We also improved our navigation and service skills test to ensure summon drivers provide excellent service and know their way around!

     InstantCab is now summon. Ride the way you want!: Since the beginning, we’ve been one of the few on-demand transportation apps that works with both Taxis and peer-to-peer Personal cars.

    Our old name, InstantCab, made some people think we only do Taxi rides. Today we are announcing a new name, summon, that better reflects our mission: to give you the power to ride the way you want - Taxi or Personal, quiet rides or rides with music, relax in the back or sit up front. 

    We believe this name better reflects what our company is all about: choice and personalization for our customers. We’re going to let you take full advantage of our hybrid model starting today. The latest summon app (for iPhone and Android) lets you choose if you want rides from Taxi drivers only, Personal drivers only, or either type of driver. Your cost is based on that selection.

    Think of us as your bat-signal for a ride. Our drivers may not be superheroes or superheroines, but they are eager to swoop in and rescue you from that not-so-good date!
     
     New apps: To power these changes, we updated our apps recently, and more updates are on the way.  Please go to http://instantcab.com/app to make sure your app is up to date!
     New investors and renewed support from existing investors: In addition to our new name and customized pricing, Summon has raised additional funding from BMW i Ventures (Yes, that BMW :)), Khosla Ventures, Initialized Capital, Beenos Partners, and Greg Kidd, with Khosla Ventures and Initialized as return investors from our seed round. We are super excited to have such awesome investors supporting us!

      More soon: Our work is far from over, but your feedback will keep us on the right track. We love nothing more than happy riders. So summon away and keep the feedback coming!

    with ♥
    Your summon Crew
  10. Meet Jordan, Winner of Free InstantCab Rides for 1 Month!

    A couple mornings ago, we surprised Jordan by telling him we had his transportation covered for the rest of the month! Jordan is the winner of our Super Bowl contest. Not only did he have the smarts to guess the final Super Bowl score in what turned out to be a very unexpected game. He also loves InstantCab so much that he invited a ton of friends to try out the app.

    Here’s what Jordan had to say about InstantCab and the Super Bowl:


    InstantCab: Who you were rooting for during the game?

    Jordan: I was rooting for the Niners; however, I am [originally] from Detroit, so I wanted the Lions….Since they lose more than any other team, I am a winner at losing : )

    InstantCab: Since you mentioned that you don’t use InstantCab to get to work, how do you normally get to work?

    Jordan: I have a magic carpet similar to Aladdin’s and a paper airplane when the weather is bad.

    InstantCab: If not to get to work, how are you going to make use of your month’s worth of free rides?

    Jordan: Going to dinner, friends’ houses, parties, bars, walk errr ride-of-shame.

    InstantCab: What is your favorite thing about InstantCab?

    Jordan: InstantCab is great! They have reliable drivers and good pricing. Plus, the app works very well…can’t say that about the other [transportation] apps….

    InstantCab: How did you find out about InstantCab initially?

    Jordan: I found out about InstantCab by the interwebs and hopped on board.

    Thanks Jordan! We hope you enjoy your month’s worth of free rides.

  11. Share a Transportation Story & Win An Awesome Prize!

    We at InstantCab are often able to see first hand how transportation intersects with people’s lives in funny, interesting, and (sometimes) unexpected ways. Now, we want to hear from you! 

    We love getting you from A to B and want to hear your sweet, funny, or surprising transportation-themed stories. We’re offering the rider who shares the best story (short and sweet is A-OK!) a fun evening for him or her and a guest, including rides from one of our top-rated drivers and dinner for two at a local restaurant.

    The contest grew in part out of InstantCab’s belief that transportation shapes and influences different aspects of daily life, including relationships of all kinds. For example, one young man who was captivated by a beautiful girl on a train captivated the hearts of millions of people a few years ago by trying to find the girl on Facebook. More recently, a father and daughter bonded while completing a cross-country road trip in an electric Tesla Model S.

    Since transportation permeates so many aspects of life and so many types of relationships, the sky is the limit! If you can think of creative ties between transportation and relationships, you can win a fun outing for yourself and a guest on a day of your choice.

    Share your story to enter the contest. Let those creative juices flow!

     

  12. Insider Look at Super Bowl Sunday

    At InstantCab, we aren’t just huge football fans but huge fans of logistics and the people who make it all look so easy behind the scenes. We thought a peak into this world may be interesting to some of you!

    —-

    Peyton Manning and Russell Wilson have a busy weekend ahead of them, but so does one group who aren’t that high on people’s Game Day radar: traffic planners.

    image

    Chaos

    With 82,000 people expected to attend the Super Bowl this Sunday at New Jersey’s MetLife stadium, even Verizon is planning for “insanity”. A wee bit of traffic insanity is almost a given. Snow can quickly make matters worse, as evident from the chaos in Atlanta this past week. February is historically the snowiest month in New Jersey, so things could get even messier than usual.

    Mini-Olympics

    Hosting the Super Bowl is like hosting a mini-Olympics. People pour into the host city days before the big game to enjoy pre-game activities. The game is a moneymaker for local bars, restaurants, and shops because, as the NYTimes says, “the Super Bowl has evolved from a game into a weeklong football industry convention and fan fest that cities fight to host.” Weather impacts how much people go out and spend money, so the fate of local businesses could depend in part on Sunday’s forecast. The NFL has requirements for would-be host cities: they must have at least 25,000 hotel rooms within a 1-hour driving distance of the football stadium and stadium seating capacity of at least 70,000. But with such large numbers come transportation concerns.

    Rules, Rules, Rules

    Once a city becomes host, the host city’s official committee plans out traffic needs. The committee, in cooperation with local authorities, has control over which roads are blocked on Game Day, at what times, the size of the security perimeter around the stadium, and whether certain roads should be guided by traffic authorities instead of signals. They also develop other policies that can directly and indirectly affect traffic. This year’s host committee says it will enforce a no-tailgating rule on Sunday. Without a parking pass (starting at $150) no taxis, limos, or cars can drop off passengers near the stadium! Only 13,000 spots are available for stadium parking, sure to make driving there in your own car a bad idea if you’re attending the game.

    San Francisco - Game Plan

    Although San Francisco traffic won’t be as bad on Sunday compared to the NY/NJ area, you can expect local gridlock and traffic jams on Game Day. Many local football fans still upset over the 49ers’ loss to the Seahawks will be going to pubs and Super Bowl parties to cheer on the Broncos, the enemy’s enemy. There are also a large number of Seattle transplants in SF to add a measure of balance. If you plan to watch the game in San Francisco or the East Bay, using InstantCab will simplify your travel plans and make traffic smoother on Game Day by:

    • Saving you time by eliminating the need to look for parking. Help other Bay Area fans by lowering traffic and parking congestion. Fewer people hunting for parking means you can more quickly get from A to B.
    • Saving you money so you can spend on things that really matter on Sunday - awesome drinks and snacks. Share rides with friends so you can cheer on your teams together at the local bar or at your friend’s place. InstantCab vehicles can support up to 4 riders, so buddy up.
    • Letting you celebrate safely. Your InstantCab driver will be the designated driver, so you can enjoy the Super Bowl celebration with all your friends!

    Whatever your Super Bowl plans are, give yourself plenty of time to get home. A lot of people will need a ride after the game!

    Super Bowl…. L?

    Oh, and watch out for deep impact closer to home in a couple of years. The NFL has already given the honor of host city to Santa Clara, CA for the 2016 50th Anniversary Super Bowl, christened Super Bowl L. The $1.2 billion Levi’s Stadium is due to open in August of this year, and this anniversary Bowl is already predicted to be the most-attended and most-watched Super Bowl in history. We’ll be there to help, even if in 2016, as Doc Brown said, “Roads? Where we’re going, we won’t need roads!”*

    Oh, One More Thing: Free Rides for a Month, with Coffee!

    InstantCab will be having a Super Bowl “MVP for a Month” contest leading up to the game! Go here before the end of half-time on Sunday. Put your football knowledge to the test for a chance to get royal treatment for a month! If you answer the grand prize question correctly and refer more friends to InstantCab than any other contest participant, you’ll win a month’s worth of InstantCab rides for free (up to $500). You’ll get MVP treatment — a top InstantCab driver waiting at your door to take you to work with coffee!

    InstantCab is also sponsoring game watching at SOMA StrEat Food Park, so head out there to watch the game!

    * If you are going to be pedantic, as we are wont to be, Doc Brown said “don’t”, not “won’t”. Our resident Back to the Future geek Daniel made us add this disclaimer.

    Coupon code: “RIDE” for $10 off your first ride.

  13. Cost Down, Level Up: Summon 3 times more drivers for 30% less

    Happy New Year, dear Riders!


    In the last post, we introduced Flat Fares, our alternative to surge pricing which doesn’t include last minute 3, 5 or 11x increase in fares. One of our driving principles behind Flat fares is our commitment to always work to charge riders less.

    Over the last several months, we have been working hard to charge you even less and today, we are announcing FareBack - a new feature that will save riders 30% of the fare when they Summon an InstantCab. 

    30% LESS

    image

    Every time you take a ride we will immediately put your entire tip, up to 20% of the fare PLUS 10% of the fare back into your account as credits. These credits will automatically apply to your next ride. That means you would end up paying up to 30% less to get around town!

    3X More Drivers

    image

    Over the last several months, we have worked very hard to ALSO increase the number of drivers. You may have noticed this if you live in the Mission, the Sunset or Richmond disctrict. We now have an average of 3 times more cars on the road at all times. This means faster rides, not just cheaper rides for all riders!


    Still No Surge

    image

    Did we mention we still don’t surge? :) You can trust us to not raise prices several fold, when you most need a ride, like on weekends!


    cheers,


    Aarjav

  14. Delivering when it counts the most: Flat Fares on New Year’s Eve

    In the past, we have spoken out against sudden, unpredictable, and uncapped increases in the price for a ride such as the Surge. Here we present Flat Fares, an alternative that we believe is better.

    Background

    The use of medallions to limit the number of drivers on the road has made taxis virtually unusable at peak times such as on New Year’s Eve.1,2 So it is not surprising that the taxi industry is being challenged by innovative startups such as InstantCab, Lyft, SideCar, and Uber.

    On days like New Year’s Eve (NYE) when the number of people who need a ride goes up by several fold, transportation becomes a critical need for everyone. It is important to us that InstantCab is usable even at these peak times. The only way to make this possible is to increase the number of drivers on the road several fold or to “increase supply several fold” as an economist would say.

    Increasing the number of drivers on the road several fold is hard

    Here’s why:

    1. It requires convincing drivers who wouldn’t usually work at a given time time to drive at that time. Since supply has to be several times what it is on a normal day, it stands to reason that drivers who wouldn’t usually drive at 1 am on New Year’s Eve would have to be convinced to do so.
    2. Most people don’t want to work on N.Y.E, they want to celebrate it with their loved ones. This makes it harder to convince them.
    3. N.Y.E is one of the hardest days to drive on because there is an incredible amount of traffic and it takes a much longer time to reach pickup and drop off points. Further, most riders need rides to or from the busiest areas.

    Given all of this, is it reasonable that drivers would expect higher compensation to drive at a time when they wouldn’t usually drive, to do so instead of celebrating with their loved ones, and when it is much harder to do their job? We think it is.

    Our rules for price increases: Be predictable and transparent. Work to charge less. Be human.

    We believe an increase in prices on New Years Eve is fair. However, we can’t ignore the fact that there has been intense push back against price increases by one of our competitors, Uber. Uber calls their prices increases Surges. A lot of people, including us, have been extremely critical of the surge. On the other hand, several people have also defended Uber and cited examples of fare increases in other industries such as airlines4.

    Most of the surge defenders have focused on the fact that increasing prices is really the only dependable way to increase supply. We believe the pushback against the Surge is not because of the price increase itself, but about how it is implemented and when it happens.

    In keeping with the InstantCab code of treating others as we would want to be treated, we have identified three principles we want to live up to.

    (1) InstantCab will be Human.

    In his excellent article on the surge3, Paul Krugman of New York Times points out how supply and demand are not the only things that matter, human factors such as fairness matter too. Citing research from the ’90s, Krugman explains why wages don’t fall in a recession, “even when unemployment was high and employers knew employees have no place to go, because they believed that morale and workplace cooperation would collapse if their employees felt that the company was exploiting a bad economy for its own gain.”

    Raising prices addresses fairness for drivers on days like New Years Eve, but conversely, especially at times of crisis, we expect more from our drivers and ourselves. Perhaps it will sound far-fetched to associate heroism with something so routine as transportation, but we do look for a bit of heroism in our drivers. We believe heroes don’t have to have superpowers. They just have to use the ordinary powers they have to help people in extraordinary need. They just have to be good.

    In times of crisis, we will sacrifice profit and work the hardest to charge as low as possible.

    (2) InstantCab will always work to charge less.

    In increasing prices, the temptation to charge as much as possible is obvious. As Jeff Bezos says though,

    "There are two kinds of companies: Those that work to try to charge more and those that work to charge less. We will be the second."

    InstantCab, too, is the second kind of company – the kind that works to charge less. If our drivers tell us they are willing to drive as long as they make $X per hour, we will only charge enough to help drivers make $X.

    Unfortunately, as one of the smaller players, this is going to be the hardest challenge for us. Our ability to charge less will be limited by how many of you choose to ride with us.

     (3) InstantCab will be predictable and transparent with Flat Fares.

    This New Year’s Eve, we are setting up flat fares that don’t change with traffic. Traffic is the one thing that is completely outside your control. With other providers, you pay more twice: first by paying higher for traffic and second by paying a multiple of the entire fare which includes distance AND time. We are fixing that with flat fares.

    image

    Instead of telling you what the price will be only right before you make a request, you will know at least 24 hours in advance exactly how much your trip will cost. These fares will go into effect after 8 p.m. tomorrow. and have been featured in the app since Friday.

    Further, as long as you have the version of the app released on Dec 21st (tip: Update in the next 24 hours to get a special discount code), you will always see a notification about these flat fares before you make a ride request.

    An average San Francisco taxi ride costs a little over $15 (including tip) and is about 4 miles. So, the NYE Flat Fares should be a little less than double for most riders. For comparison, other services have already announced a multiple ranging from 3X on SideCar, up to 3X (including up to 200% prime time tips) on Lyft, and an uncapped surge that changes dynamically on Uber. 5

    Conclusion

    We are one of the smaller startups in this space. Our ability to impact overall pricing is limited and affected by tactics of the larger players. However we believe that doing the right thing is not just a good ethical practice but also a good business practice. We believe higher but flat pricing on New Year’s Eve is the right solution here for both riders and drivers. If you believe we are doing the right thing, please tell your friends about us. If not, please email me your feedback or ideas at ask@instantcab.com  or via twitter.com/instantcab

    Discuss this on HackerNews

     

    References:

    [1] Some quotes from an excellent Priceonomics article titled “The Tyranny of Taxi Medallions” illustrate this tyranny. (disclaimer: I was a primary source for the piece) :

    The life of a taxi driver is hard. When cabbies start a shift, they owe about $100 to their company as payment just for the opportunity drive a taxi. They might not break even until halfway through their shift, or maybe not at all that day. In most American cities, they have to work very long hours to make a living.

    …medallions sell for hundreds of thousands of dollars on secondary markets depending on the city.. In Boston, the price of a medallion is $625,000.

    http://blog.priceonomics.com/post/47636506327/the-tyranny-of-the-taxi-medallions

    [2] A reported 72% of cabs dispatched by taxi companies on weekends in SF did not show up as of 2011. More recently, in 2013, this number was reported to be 26 to 27%.

    http://sfbay.ca/2013/04/09/study-says-sf-needs-more-taxis/

    [3] Uber and the Macro Wars – Paul Krugman

    http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/12/21/uber-and-the-macro-wars/?smid=tw-NytimesKrugman&seid=auto

    [4] While many have drawn parallels between increase in airline ticket prices on Christmas and Uber’s surge pricing, here are two key ways they are not the same:

    (a) Average airline ticket prices on Christmas are no more than 1.5 times of average airline ticket prices. I am not sure the same can be said of the surge.

    (b) If an airline only let you buy a ticket right before you got on the plane, and then charged you whatever it wanted based on it’s internal notion of supply and demand, that would be surge pricing.

    On a related note, when Southwest started a lot of experts did not think that they would have a shot in a business known for making millionaires out of billionaires, especially with a slogan like ‘THE Low Fare airline’. Today they are one of the most beloved airlines. In large part this is because they remain one of a very small handful of airlines that don’t charge baggage fees and allow reusing money from cancelled fares to buy another ticket. They don’t compete just on price, but by giving consumers a viable alternative at an affordable price, they help consumers and keep incumbent operators on their toes. We are shamelessly inspired by Southwest in our thinking about pricing and customer service.

    5) http://blog.sfgate.com/techchron/2013/12/27/lyft-expands-service-in-east-ba/

    http://blog.uber.com/uber-nye-2014

    http://pastebin.com/YaYeMXBW

  15. Spread some holiday cheer with these fun events!

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    We hope you all had an excellent Thanksgiving with family and friends! The holiday fun is just beginning. We found some holiday themed activities this weekend to spread the cheer. 

    Use promo code HOLIDAY13 to get $5 off when you summon an InstantCab to or from the listed events. The code expires on Sunday night, so don’t miss out!

    Holiday Block Parties Throughout SF

    Several neighborhoods will host holiday block parties this weekend. Hayes Valley will be lit up with holiday wreaths. You can enjoy live music and even free food and drinks from businesses in the area. In the Mission and Lower Haight parties, there will also be art on display and special one-night-only holiday sales from local businesses.

    When: 
    Hayes Valley - Fri. 5:30 - 9:30 PM; Mission - Fri. 6 - 10 PM; Lower Haight - Sat. 5 - 9 PM
    Where: Hayes Valley - Hayes & Laguna St.; Mission - Valencia & 16th St.; Lower Haight - Haight & Fillmore St.
    Cost: Free. 
     

    Presidio Tree Lighting & Lantern-Lit Stroll

    Join in the annual Presidio tree lighting on Friday night, which will also feature carolers, holiday crafts, and warm food to fight the cold outside. A special treat is the lantern-lit forest walk that begins at 6:15 and turns the Presidio into a holiday fairytale.

    When: Fri. 5:30 - 6:30 PM
    Where: YMCA Presidio Gym, 63 Funston Ave.
    Cost: Free (Bring a flashlight with you for the lantern stroll). Learn more here.

    SFMade Holiday Gift Fair

    If you’re still searching for the perfect holiday presents for your family and friends, look no further! Give them the best that SF has to offer with gifts from this fair that are all made right here in the City by the Bay. Over 100 vendors will be selling their locally made clothes, jewelry, toys, baby products, home decor items, and more.

    When: Sat. & Sun. 10 AM - 5 PM
    Where: Fort Mason Center, Marina Blvd. & Buchanan St.
    Cost: Free to attend. Learn more here.


    Have a wonderful weekend everyone! Don’t forget to bundle up before heading out!