August 6, 2014
The DC-based Taxi Magic, which works with fleets across the country to improve taxi transport efficiency through technology, announced this morning that it has rebranded as Curb. The rebrand is an effort by the company to incorporate other ride options – on top of further improving the taxi experience – for consumers, to better position Curb against similar ride services like Uber and Lyft. Additionally, Curb has announced that it has appointed former ZipRealty President and CEO Pat Lashinsky as the new CEO of the relaunched company.
“Taxi Magic was really the first one to be in this taxi business…in the ground transportation space,” said Lashinsky, citing the popularity of services like Uber and increased competition in this space. “Consumers are now looking for choice in a single app, whether that’s black cabs, taxis, or even shuttles to the airport. [This rebranding] enables us to provide consumers with those choices.”
Since 2009, Taxi Magic has been working with taxi fleets across the U.S. to modernize the industry through various tech solutions, most notably through its mobile application that allowed riders to hail taxis and pay for rides directly from their devices. Prior to this rebrand, more than 35,000 taxis had already been utilizing the tools offered by Taxi Magic to improve driver efficiency and passenger experience. The relaunch of the company as Curb is a way for them to offer additional ride options (e.g. black sedans) for customers, while continuing to cultivate their primary offering: the taxi business.
According to Lashinsky, while demand for services like Uber and Lyft have certainly increased, taxis still hold a dominating presence with regards to ground transportation. Citing a recent NYU study that looked at where the taxi industry is headed in the next five to ten years, the new Curb CEO notes that taxi cabs will still make up 40 percent of the market.
“When people ask whether taxis will disappear…we really don’t think so. The taxi business is continuing to grow; our strongest fleet partners are seeing really strong growth,” said Lashinsky. “And that’s because people are getting used to using [ride services and other ground transport alternatives] instead of using their own vehicles.”
And, to make it clear, Curb works with the taxi industry rather than in opposition to (i.e. Uber) – and they believe that’s a powerful selling point. Because they work with professional taxi drivers and (now) for-hire drivers, customers can relax knowing that their drivers have all been vetted. Additionally, unlike other ride services, Curb still allows people to using cash, which is great when you consider that that still makes up 50 percent of all transactions.
With this rebrand, Curb plans to focus on renovating ground transportation across the board, and hopes to be able to provide riders in any city across the U.S. with trusted, reliable rides through one platform:
“If you’re going from one city to another, there is no one universal number or service you can use. We hope to create that one destination [for consumers].”
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