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1-800-GET-LIMO provides operators with ready access to a group of affiliates sharing a common nationwide network. Each operator who signs up gets the phone number plus the extension for the area code and is the only operator in that system with that area code. The company, which so far has about 100 chauffeured operators in its network, is beta-testing a Limo Mapping feature accessible via smartphones. The app-like tool combines Google Maps with GPS to enable clients to track their vehicle(s) in real time, says CEO Mark Adkins, adding that the test version is “1.0,” not yet “2.0.” A Google Map is embedded in a link that is e-mailed to the client. The service is free for clients, and entirely optional for 1-800-GET-LIMO-affiliated operators. “People are going online on the mobile web to such a great degree you have to think in terms of mobile devices,” Adkins says. “It’s not just about mapping; mobile web is where the real growth opportunity is taking place.”
- Customers book ride via Uber iPhone app, Android app, or SMS.
- Operators looking to fill their downtime and add revenue through Uber system must complete a stringent application process to be part of Uber database, after which they receive an iPhone from Uber that comes pre-loaded with Uber Driver app.
- Ride quality rating system allows passengers to rate drivers and vice versa, and operators who receive low reviews are cut from the system.
- Uber Driver app notifies an operator when he has a ride request, which he can accept or decline. Customers receive confirmation through their phones with chauffeur’s location and estimated time of arrival.
- 20% gratuity is built into the fare, and Uber receives a 20% farm-out rate.
- Serving San Francisco, Seattle, New York City (pickup/drop-off in New Jersey and Connecticut so long as corresponding pickup/drop-off is in New York), and Chicago
- Coming soon to Boston and Washington, D.C.
“Uber works to complement operators rather than compete with them,” says Ryan Graves, Uber general manager and vice president of operations. “We have a very intense application and screening process to ensure our operators provide the highest quality of service.”