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Desert Cab Las Vegas Nevada – Taxis wait outside Terminal 1 at McCarran International Airport on Thursday, June 28, 2018, in Las Vegas. Benjamin Hager Las Vegas Review-Journal @benjaminhphoto
The pending deal with Kaptyn Inc. to get a pair of transportation groups in Las Vegas is about the development of long-standing cab companies to better compete with new technologies.
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The mobility technology company filed on Monday to acquire Desert Cab Co. and ODS Chauffeured Transportation, owned by the Balaban family, and Whittlesea-Bell Transportation, owned by the Bell family and comprised of Whittlesea Blue Cab, Henderson Taxi, Bell Limousine, Bell Trans and Presidential Limousine. The two groups also jointly own Virgin Valley Cab, which they bought from Frias Transportation earlier this year.
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The Kaptyn group seeks to account for 872 of the 3,250 cabs in Las Vegas, along with private cars and limousines.
The Bell family has been involved in Nevada’s taxi industry since the 1940s, while the Balabans have been involved since the 1970s. That legacy is a key aspect of the deal, according to Kaptyn CEO Andrew Meyers.
Kaptyn began working with Bell and Balaban five years ago, and as their relationship developed, Kaptyn’s interest in the market grew, Meyers said.
He said Kaptyn wanted to “help efficiency and (bring) innovation to the taxi class, which we thought was very old at the time.”
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The state’s Taxicab and Transportation authorities still need to approve the acquisition. If the deal is approved, Whittlesea-Bell President Brent Bell and Desert Cab President George Balaban will remain in senior level roles.
Bell will serve as senior vice president of luxury operations under the name Kaptyn, while Balaban will serve as senior vice president of taxicab operations. The Bell and Balaban families will retain minority ownership in the deal.
“I will oversee luxury operations along with government affairs,” Bell said. “My management team will largely remain intact. When you take our management experience, along with Kaptyn and the technology they will bring to the table, I’m really excited about the things we’re going to do in future
Bell said Las Vegas high rollers still value limousines and luxury car service, and he believes Kaptyn will help take those services to new heights.
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“There’s no question that limo and black car service has been affected by rideshare as well,” Bell said. “We believe in Kaptyn’s resources and their technology, that we will bring the service back to where it was before and it will be successful for us.”
Kaptyn’s move into a bigger role in the Las Vegas taxi scene puts new capital and new ideas into a space that has seen annual ridership declines since Uber and Lyft began operating. operated in 2015.
Kaptyn officials studied the Las Vegas Valley market, including what ride hailing companies are doing with their mobile apps, their customer relationships and the different toys they use, to generate ideas. how to improve the taxi product.
“What strategies, resources or partnerships can be implemented to change that (ridership decline)?” Meyers said. “That was the evolution of Kaptyn Inc. the software company and… then the entire Bell and Balaban organizations and assets.”
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The new plans for the company will be launched next year and will be based on four key pillars.
Ridership Experience: Driver/rider experience is key because providing a consistent level of service is critical to landing new customers and making returning customers. The cost of the trip plays into it, Meyers said.
The company also plans to invest in drivers and make upgrades to the existing Bell headquarters, including cosmetic improvements, technology improvements, adding an employee lounge/gym and more.
Bridging the gap with ride hailing companies: In the next two years Kaptyn plans to launch a method “where you can start marrying the positives on both sides from ride sharing and traditional fleet structure,” Meyers said. He believes it could take off as a model that other cities are looking at when trying to close the gap between taxi and ride-sharing services.
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Brand: Kaptyn has moved from taxicab or limousine specific fleet names to a mobility fleet. That will create a great brand that consumers will recognize and lead them to think of hailing a taxi or limo as no different than taking an Uber or Lyft.
Reduction of carbon footprint: Kaptyn will look to increase the use of eco-friendly vehicles in its fleet and use new vehicle technology. Strategic goals will be transferred to the market over time, as various approvals and regulatory hurdles are cleared, Meyers said.
“The overall mobility market is evolving, with ride sharing, electrification, autonomy, as we saw here in Vegas,” he said. “We will continue to invest in moving from internal combustion vehicles to eco-friendly vehicles and finally fully electric vehicles. We believe that mobility not only creates lower emissions for the community, but it also creates value in that driver/rider experience.
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Formula 1 eyes decade-plus Las Vegas Grand Prix future Grand Prix action plan for Strip employees hit a rough stretch Cruise suspends driverless operations You don’t need a car in this upcoming downtown Las Vegas neighborhood Taxis to add surcharge for F1 rides from airport to resorts Let the race begin! The inaugural F1 events begin Wednesday night Cab drivers line up in the taxi pick up lane at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas in 2017. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Taxis sit in the Nellis Cab Company parking lot on Thursday, May 7, 2020, in Las Vegas. Taxi ridership has dropped 97% since the outbreak of the coronavirus. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Passengers arriving at McCarran International Airport take a taxi on Thursday, May 7, 2020, in Las Vegas. Taxi ridership has dropped 97% since the outbreak of the coronavirus. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Taxi demand in Las Vegas has declined sharply since the resort corridor was shut down by the coronavirus.
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Taxi rides in the Las Vegas Valley fell 97 percent from February to April, according to data from the Taxicab Authority.
In February, Southern Nevada saw 1.1 million rides provided by the area’s 16 taxicab companies. That dropped to 28,736 in April when all major resorts on Las Vegas Boulevard and non-essential businesses throughout the valley were closed for the entire month.
The effects of the coronavirus were also visible in March, as passengers decreased by 55 percent compared to February, which fell to 499,926 trips, since the first stay-at-home recommendations were announced on March 17.
Ten of the 16 cab brands are providing service while the remaining six have voluntarily and temporarily suspended operations, according to the Taxicab Authority. Seven of the 10 brands operate under the YCS & Newcab umbrella, while Desert Cab, Western Cab and Lucky Cab are the other three that operate.
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“Despite the deep decline in monthly trips, taxi drivers continue to provide hundreds of essential rides to passengers going to grocery stores, pharmacies and medical appointments across the valley every day, ” said Taxicab Authority Administrator Scott Whittemore. “Taxi service remains available to senior passengers and regular customers through ride-hailing apps and easy-to-use online ordering platforms.”
By comparison, the only trackable ridership statistics for ride-hailing companies like Uber and Lyft come from McCarran International Airport, because the Transportation Authority does not require the companies to file monthly reports.
McCarran’s numbers show ride-hailing drop-offs at the airport dropped 97 percent in April compared to a year ago, from 361,001 drop-offs in April 2019 to 10,363 last month.
YCS & New Cab director Johnathan Schwartz said the industry has never seen anything like what the coronavirus pandemic has caused. Schwartz said he had