My name is Justine Karp and I recently joined the NYC GetTaxi team as the Social & Community Manager. I have joined a company whose vision is to revolutionize the experience of riding in a taxi.
Upon entering the office on Monday morning, I said hi to my CEO, Jing Wang Herman and VP of Innovation, Ron Srebro. After we sat down for our first official business meeting, Jing blurted out immediately, “Justine, what do you think about getting your cab license?” I looked at them cross-eyed and responded, “Awesome! Where do I sign up?”. I thought right away how unique it was that a company launching a taxi app is so dedicated that they want to take the time and effort to fully understand every aspect of the industry.
GetTaxi is based in Israel and has already launched in Tel Aviv, London, Moscow, St. Petersburg and coming soon to NYC.
With a team so excited to learn the ins and outs of the New York City taxi world, I decided that I too must gain this same knowledge and experience. It is no easy feat being a taxi driver in Manhattan, drivers can face many challenges. Jing had quite the first experience,
It was a hot day in late August as she pulled up to a street hail in front of Trader Joe’s in Union Square. Two girls with white and black Chanel glasses stared glaringly at her as their long brown hair whipped across their faces. Maybe they spent the summer in St. Moritz or maybe they spent every day laying out on their rooftop. Either way, these girls looked perfectly tanned and eager for a ride. They both stood there with Trader Joe’s brown bags that were piling over with chips, salsa and guacamole. Their hands felt a sense of relief as they put down their bags, realizing they had finally hailed a ride.
As Jing pulled up, a smile grew across her face (she quickly sensed their hesitation, her smile, meant to be friendly, was just creepy.) She quickly informed them,“It’s OK” (even less assuring). It appeared as if she was trying to lure two kids with candy into her car. (When have you ever heard a cab driver tell you “IT’S OK?” before you entered?).
Of the two girls, the more daring one opened the door and began to crawl inside the cab. Her friend, still hesitant, glanced into the front seat. She saw a partially balding man sitting next to Jing. He was staring at her with creepy smile number two (Jing’s friend came along in support for her first ride). The girll yelled to her friend in a wavering voice, “GET OUT, WE CAN WALK.”
The man quickly replied, “It’s OK, it’s just her first day so I am here to help her.” (Clearly this was more enticing as he spoke in a broken Israeli accent. The girl who had already entered the cab, immediately changed directions, appearing as if she had just seen a ghost (maybe Ron resembled that a little bit). As the girls began to shuffle quickly down the street, Jing continued to drive alongside them repeating her phrase “It’s REALLY OK, HOP IN!”. The girls, with heavy bags in hand, continued to shuffle even faster.
Before Jing could secure her first ride, the girls were lost in the crowd.
Although the first ride didn’t go as planned, Jing was not deterred and was able to secure her first passenger shortly after.
In this new role, I too believe that it is important to fully understand the product I am promoting and invite you along for the journey as I begin the process of obtaining my taxi drivers license over the next few weeks. Who knows, maybe you’ll even end up riding with me!