TaxiMagic, one of the oldest apps connecting passengers to drivers (launched January 2009) – if not the oldest app in the taxi and FHV-industry – changed its name into Curb. With the new name, dropping ‘taxi’ from its brand, the company hopes to extend its horizon in the ground transportation industry. “As Curb, we will fulfill our vision of making ground travel easy, safe, reliable and instant for everyone”, the company stated. A thinly veiled reference to apps like Uber and Lyft, who Curb hopes to fight with new zeal: “Partnering with Curb better positions us to compete with ridesharing services and innovate as the industry changes,” commented William J. Rouse, General Manager of Yellow Cab of Los Angeles. “The gloves are off and we will continue to invest in providing the safest and best service to the people of Los Angeles. Curb helps us win this battle.” In order to do that battle, Curb has raised $35 million in financing and estimates significant continued growth. Compared to Uber’s financing clout ($ 17 bn) though, a mere drop in the ocean.
TaxiMagic developed from RideCharge, an online platform for booking and administration of ground travel, which started in 2007. In the app-age (2008), RideCharge became TaxiMagic, launching the industry’s earliest if not first app.
In the process Curb also appointed a new CEO, taking over from co-founder Sanders Partee, who is still with the company, as CEO though in a different role. Specialised in the food business, innovation consultant and ex-ZipRealty CEO Patrick Lashinsky has taken the helm. Under Mr. Lashinsky, Curb is poised to enter several new markets, improve product offerings, expand vehicle offerings in key cities and significantly grow its employee base.
As an early app pioneer with its roots firmly in the taxi and FHV industry in the USA, Curb connects passengers to a nationwide network of over 35.000 taxis and 6.500 for-hire vehicles across 60 cities, and is adding more drivers and travel providers daily. Formerly known as Taxi Magic, Curb builds upon its pioneering history in the mobile transportation space to provide convenient booking, reliable service, seamless payment and an enjoyable experience for riders and drivers alike.
Curb riders control all aspects of their taxi, livery or black car ride – including pick-up time, type of car, method of payment and the route the driver takes. In recent months, the Curb team delivered an improved taxi service in Los Angeles, marked by faster pickup times, automatic ‘touchless’ payment, intensive driver training and significantly improved rider ratings. Curb is launching this new level of service across Chicago and Dallas area taxis immediately, with the rest of the growing network to follow over upcoming months. To ensure market-leading levels of safety and quality, Curb only works with licensed, regulated and commercially-insured drivers and providers in good standing with local regulatory authorities.
“We are excited to enter the Curb era and bring much-needed ‘constructive innovation’ to taxi and other forms of ground transportation. Curb will redefine how consumers experience reliable, safe rides from professional drivers spanning taxis and sedans,” said Mr. Lashinsky. “We place game-changing software directly in your pocket that seamlessly guides the curb-to-curb experience of a ride – while providing drivers and providers with the tools to innovate, improve and flourish.”
While riders benefit from advanced technology and a seamless, hassle-free experience, Curb powers forward-looking taxi companies intent on improving service to better compete in the evolving ground transportation market. Curb works closely with its partners to help drivers embrace technology, improve customer service and pick up more rides, increasing driver income while decreasing downtime.
Curb will be rolling out an integration with expense-management giant Concur, its largest shareholder, that will automate the process of fare-administration.
• TaxiMagic becomes Curb and hires CEO Patrick Lashinsky. Photo: Washington Business Journal.