'Cheaper than Uber': Chicago taxi business revamped with new app 'Curb'
CHICAGO - It could be the comeback of the cabs.
Developers of taxi-hailing app Curb have redesigned the platform to make it as seamless as passengers are used to via rideshare apps like Uber and Lyft.
Taxis have been crushed in recent years and one main reason is because passengers want to know upfront what their ride is going to cost, as opposed to being at the mercy of a ticking meter. Curb has announced updates to its platform aimed at evening the playing field for taxis.
"I've been asking customers and they really like [Curb] because the price is cheaper than Uber," said Faris Marogy, who's been driving a cab in Chicago since 2013.
Marogy predicts a big taxi comeback as a result of the Curb platform.
"I believe within 4 to 6 months, it's going to beat Uber...bigtime," he said.
Jason Gross is Head of Mobile for Curb.
"It used to be with the Curb app or getting into a taxi on the street, you would hail upfront and when you got in, the meter would run and at the end of the ride you would pay whatever that meter came out to," said Gross.
But that's not the case anymore. Curb has updated its platform to give upfront pricing based on pick-up location, destination and traffic.
"One key factor is, if it winds up taking longer or going further, you're going to pay the same price that you were quoted up front," Gross said.
Gross claims that fares via Curb average between 5 and 10 percent cheaper than Uber and Lyft, and since there's no surge pricing on Curb, sometimes the savings will be way more significant. Marogy told FOX 32 a recent passenger told him the fare from O'Hare to downtown via Curb was nearly $150 cheaper than Uber during a period when Uber implemented surge pricing.
"We have noticed that over the last several months – if not longer – taxis have actually become a cheaper alternative, but the public didn't know that," said Gross. "Giving them that expectation of understanding of what they're going to pay, which is definitely something that people have come to expect, it allows them to make that comparison and make an informed choice."
Gross said since it revamped Curb in New York City, there has been a 35-percent increase in the number of cab drivers on the roads. Curb is right now piloting its revamped platform in Chicago.