Cities are doing a lot of hemming and hawing when it comes to the rideshare apps that are devouring their taxi businesses. In one of the more progressive moves, the Southern California city of Long Beach is revamping its taxi fleet with a big design and tech upgrade so they can tackle these startups head on.
A Los Angeles Times story covers the changes, which will include rebranding the taxis with the snappy name Yellow Long Beach and a bright new yellow paint job, a new app to summon and pay for rides, and new way to charge customers that’s more like Uber and Lyft:
“We had a system that was very antiquated,” Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia said. “We’re trying to create a service that’s somewhere in between a traditional cab service and a traditional ride-sharing service.”
Earlier this week the city loosened pricing structures which would allow drivers to charge less than the metered rate at their discretion, which opens the door for free rides, discount codes and referral rates. The maximum rate will stay the same, meaning that a cab is always a deal when compared to the surge pricing that rideshares employ during times of high demand.
Not all cities could do what Long Beach is doing—it’s a smaller city than LA and New York and all the taxis are run by the same company. But it’s a very smart decision. Instead of fighting to pass stricter rideshare regulations or other policy changes that will go through years of legal battles, the city has decided to fix the problems with its own system to help serve its citizens even better. It’s all about having more options when it comes to great urban transportation. Long Beach—with a long history of focusing on mass transit and biking infrastructure—seems to understand.
Promotional photo from Long Beach Yellow Cab