New Yellow Cab of Charlottesville Owner Eyes Big Changes
Charlottesville Yellow Cab's new owner says there are big changes on the way. Main Street Arena owner Mark Brown will invest more than a million dollars into the business.
It will roll out 30 new hybrid vehicles, GPS dispatch software, and offer a free smartphone application to help customers find a ride. Brown says the goal is to bring Charlottesville's taxi service into the 21st century.
"I've had an opportunity to travel around quite a bit, and I've seen a lot of different companies that offer transportation around the country. And what we have to offer here in Charlottesville is just substandard," said Brown.
Twenty new Hyundai Sonatas will enter service the first week in September, with a new coat of fresh yellow paint.
The NBC29 newsroom received the following press release:
Getting around one of America's most acclaimed small cities is about to get safer, easier and more environmentally responsible.
Noted Charlottesville deal maker Mark Brown announced today his purchase of Yellow Cab of Charlottesville, and a plan to take the 79-year-old business firmly into the 21 st Century by combining brand new hybrid vehicles with the very latest in dispatch and user-friendly technology designed to make the entire experience as seamless as possible.
"Given its first-class reputation, world-class university, outstanding tourism offerings and regular home atop a variety of ‘Best Places to Live' lists from major publications, Charlottesville has more going for it than ever before," Brown said. Our current taxi options are far behind these times, plagued by poor service, long waits and sub-standard vehicles with few amenities. Our goal in buying the area's oldest and largest taxi company is to fix this issue and we are going to move aggressively toward doing that."
The company's transformation will be highlighted by a total revamping of its existing vehicle fleet, Brown said, with the company purchasing 30 brand new hybrid vehicles within the next several months. The cars will include Ford Fusions (45MPG) and Hyundai Sonatas (37 MPG). The first 20 Sonatas should be in service by the first week of September.
The move marks another significant environmental initiative from Brown, who recently launched one of Virginia's largest solar power installations at the Main Street Arena. "That experience really opened my eyes to the ability to add value to an investment by upgrading to the latest clean technologies."
Each vehicle will be outfitted with industry-leading GPS-based office software systems that will allow dispatchers to view all vehicles in real time and dispatch based on proximity at the time of the call. Drivers will also be provided an onboard, permanently mounted Android-based tablet that will give the driver fare location, pickup times and other pertinent information. This technology will eliminate the need for radios, resulting in quieter, more peaceful rides for passengers.
The tablet will interface with a rear seat information monitor that will allow passengers to safely and securely swipe credit cards, company cards, gift cards and. The monitors will come with mobile printers that can provide automated customer receipts. In addition, they will have the capability to play live TV, display advertising messages and offer Wi-Fi connectivity.
"We want to do everything we can to make this easy on the customer," Brown said. "For instance, we will have a smartphone app where all you have to do is push a single button and their phone will input GPS coordinates to our dispatch software, which will automatically send the nearest cab. It's that simple."
The new Yellow Cab of Charlottesville is focused on more than technology alone. Brown and his team are adamant about attracting and retaining professional, responsible and courteous drivers, and creating jobs in the process. "Our community currently has 6,000 unemployed people, and I firmly believe we can provide a solid career opportunity for people looking to work hard and move forward." Toward that end, he said, the cars will be offered in a lease-to-own program that further incentivizes drivers.
For more information on the new Yellow Cab of Charlottesville, visit www.cvilletaxi.com or call 295-4131.
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Ed joined the NBC29 news team in May, 2011. A Charlotte, NC, native, he graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with degrees in journalism and political science.Full Story
Ed joined the NBC29 news team in May, 2011. A Charlotte, NC, native, he graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with degrees in journalism and political science. Email/Follow on Twitter/ Full Story