We’ve got to ask: Why is Rashid Temuri such a trendsetter? And how sad is it that all the guy really had to do was set up a Twitter account and a text-messaging number, and he’s become the most popular cabbie in Chicago?
If you live, well, anywhere outside of New York City, where cabs are heavily regulated by a commission, you know how much cabs suck. You call, the dispatcher tells you the cabbie will be there — and he is, usually fifteen minutes late, in a beaten-up jalopy, and almost always uniquely surly. Then when it comes time to pay they more often than not don’t take credit or debit cards or have any change to break a twenty. It’s beyond ridiculous.
Conversely, Temuri is using Twitter — he’s @chicagocabbie — to let people know he’s on shift and customers can DM and @ reply to him to tell him where to pick them up. You can even track where he is on Google Latitude. And, no, this isn’t some corporately designed thing: Temuri just had this really odd idea that his customers would like to be able to reach him and would like to know where he is. And it’s working! Imagine that.
What started out as an earnest attempt to bridge the understanding gap between cabbies and clients has since flourished into a successful Internet-based business—one that Temuri says can sometimes be overwhelming, even to an old-school geek like himself. (Temuri told me about his days as a professional video editor, adding that he has a Mac Pro at home and uses his iPhone and iPad regularly.)
“It’s been working out way better then I ever expected,” he said. In fact, it has been working out so well that Temuri estimates his clientele is 90 to 95 percent repeat business—something that he thinks gives him a major leg up on the competition, not to mention that he’s making genuine friends out of the fact that he’s so easy to reach via “new” media methods. “I’m loving the fact that, not only will I be picking up somebody I’ve met several times, we sometimes start our conversation where we left off.”
Can we make this mandatory for all cabbies?
(Pic via Jacqui Cheng/Ars Technica)