Several times over the past year, we have written about the many changes taking place in the taxi industry ever since Uber came onto the scene. We have spent hundreds of hours studying these changes looking for ways that we can work together to improve our customer service and protect our business.

Studies show that one of the main reasons riders choose Uber and Lyft over a taxi is service time. Riders want to be picked up fast, Uber and Lyft show up a lot quicker-than a taxi so the riders call them instead of us.

The chart above shows that 89% of Uber riders are picked up less than 10 minutes after they place an order. 44% of taxi riders are picked up in 10-20 minutes and 33% of taxi riders are picked up more than 20 minutes after they place an order.

In order to compete with Uber and Lyft we must pick up our customers faster. That is why we are introducing The 10 Minute Rule.

The 10 Minute Rule is our goal of picking up every rider within 10 minutes of placing an order. To help meet this goal, we are implementing several changes with our dispatching protocol.

First, we are redrawing our zone map and shrinking the larger zones surrounding the city. When the current zone map was created, there was very little business in those outer zones. That has changed and smaller zones will help us provide better service to these areas.

Second, you will be automatically booked into the zone you are located in at that time. This auto-book feature will be very helpful to drivers as you learn the new zone numbers.

Next, we are changing the way we offer orders to drivers posted in zones. We will be dispatching to the closest vehicle. The current method of dispatching orders based on first in first out is inefficient. It leads to slower customer pick up times for riders and wastes driver’s time and gas driving several miles for a fare when another cab may only be a few blocks away.

Finally, we are putting a protocol in place for dispatching orders in zones that have no cabs posted in them. We will prioritize open orders based on vehicle proximity. Drivers closest to the zone with the open order will see the order first. The system will expand the radius surrounding the pickup location to include more taxicabs until a driver finally accepts the order.

Please be patient as you learn this new dispatch protocol. These changes will help us improve our service to customers, which in turn will mean more customers and more money for drivers.