In 2008, I needed a cab ride to the airport. I had just moved to Baltimore, so I asked my friends which taxi company they would recommend. They all had the same answer: none of them. “Whichever one you call, there’s a 50-50 chance they’ll actually pick you up,” one friend told me. That ballpark figure was borne out pretty well by my subsequent experiences.
When it comes to hailing a cab — in the few places in Baltimore where that is a possibility — I’ve found fares to be so inconsistent, I’ve occasionally negotiated the price before setting foot in the vehicle.
The Maryland Public Service Commission recently ordered that all taxis in the state must have working credit card machines by the end of the year. But according to James Briggs at Baltimore Business Journal, that’s not all it will take to bring Maryland cabs up to snuff.
Briggs blames the taxi industry, which has faced new competition from mobile-app-based transportation services Uber and Lyft, for having to be “dragged into the present against its will.” Briggs suggests instead of using the courts and government to put Uber and Lyft out of commission, cab companies should be responding by “adding features such as mobile application booking and automatic fare pay (yes, through credit cards) after trip completions.”
It would sure be nice! What do you say, Baltimore? What are the changes cab companies should be making right now?