New app launched by Waterloo Taxi

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Waterloo Taxi has recently updated its services to now include an app through which users can book rides. This comes following in the footsteps of Uber&rsquo;s arrival in Waterloo Region.&nbsp;</p>

The app, which became available Sept. 1, will allow users to book rides and customize their ride to the type of service they need, including such options as to choose a wheelchair-accessible car or one that is pet-friendly. While these features are included, Waterloo Taxi has been reluctant to include a rate my ride feature, although they have been discussing the possibly of adding it in the future. 

“We believe it’s really useless,” said Tony Rodrigues, director of marketing at Waterloo Taxi. “We’re going to provide that service, but we’re going to come up with a system that provides us as the overseers of the service with valuable information that we could actually use.”

As Rodrigues explains, the challenges with creating a rate my ride feature like the one Uber uses is that it relies mainly on a number scale. If a driver receives varying results from numerous customers, it becomes challenging for the supervisor to address the specific points of weakness. 

“If all we are getting back from the customer is a number rating, when we sit down with our driver and they’re across the desk from me, and I say, ‘Listen Joe, your last ride had been a rating of two, why?’ What can I say to him? What can I talk to him [about] so he can improve [his] service?” said Rodrigues. 

While Uber does allow passengers to rate their ride through a number scale, they also include an open commentary box where customers can include any comments and concerns they had with their experience. As of publication, the plans for Waterloo Taxi’s specific model of the rate my ride feature is still in production.

“Our plan is [to] allow you as a user not simply to pick a number between one and five. We also don’t want it to be so cumbersome that you as the user look at it and go ‘oh my gosh, I’ve got to go through this whole process.’ We want it to be as simple as possible.”

So far, the app has had more than 600 downloads, which Rodrigues sees as a good sign considering that this region is still “reasonably small [and] still somewhat conservative.” While Rodrigues is happy about how the app has been received, he noted that one complaint often brought up by customers is the app’s appearance. 

“The only negative thing was the look of it. Almost everybody stated that it looked a little dated,” Rodrigues said, later adding, “Looking back, we should have employed someone aside from [developers] to help us design it. But we have somebody on board with [us] who’s hopefully going to help with it for the next two months. We’ll implement some changes.”

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