Taxi alternatives could improve service

08/18/2014 9:06 AM

08/20/2014 1:18 PM

Today marks the launch of the Miami Herald CEO Roundtable, comprising more than two dozen CEOs and senior executives in companies large and small from the region’s key industries. The goal: To provide a temperature check of local economic conditions and business opinions on current topics. Look for a selection of responses each week in print; to see all responses, go online at MiamiHerald.com/business. And keep an eye out for our live CEO Roundtable event later this fall.

Here are members of our 2014-2015 Miami Herald CEO Roundtable: Eddy Arriola, chairman, Apollo Bank; Roslyn Artis, president, Florida Memorial University; Ben Baldanza, CEO, Spirit Airlines; Tere Blanca, CEO, Blanca Commercial Real Estate; Daniel Cane, CEO, Modernizing Medicine; Ana-Marie Codina Barlick, CEO, Codina Partners; Jaret Davis, Co-Managing Shareholder, Miami office, Greenberg Traurig; Arnold Donald, president and CEO, Carnival Corp.; Fabiola Fleurvanil, CEO, Blueprint Creative; Charlotte Gallogly, president, World Trade Center Miami; Marcell D. Haywood, CEO, DirtPros; Mike Jackson, chairman and CEO, Autonation; Keith Koenig, president, City Furniture; John Kunkel, CEO, 50 Eggs restaurant group; Jose Li, CEO, 71 lbs; Ana Lopez-Blazquez, CEO, Baptist Health Enterprises; Brad Meltzer, president, Plaza Construction Group Florida; Bruce Orosz, president and CEO, ACT Productions; Steve Owens, president, Swire Properties; Lauren “Lolo” Reskin, owner, Sweat Records; Mark Rosenberg, president, Florida International University; Penny Shaffer, South Florida market president, Florida Blue; Maureen Shea, CEO, Right Management; Steven D. Sonenreich, President and CEO, Mount Sinai Medical Center; John Sumberg, managing partner, Bilzin Sumberg and Teresa Weintraub, President and CEO, Fiduciary Trust International of the South.

QUESTION

Does South Florida needs car services like Uber and Lyft?

Yes 92 %

No 0 %

Uncertain 9 %

ANSWERS

What’s not to like? It’s a smart use of technology that provides a safe, economical service while satisfying a need in the marketplace. The taxi cab model is broken and needs a massive overhaul.

— Eddy Arriola, chairman, Apollo Bank

These services are an attractive option for business and recreational transportation and are widely utilized in other large urban areas.

— Roslyn Artis, president, Florida Memorial University

These companies are changing the way people think about ground travel, in much the same way we feel we’re changing the way people think about air travel. Giving people options in the type of travel they choose and how much they spend on that travel is a good thing.

— Ben Baldanza, CEO, Spirit Airlines

Many of the visitors to South Florida are very comfortable with these services and it is important to respond to the needs of a major contributor to our economy. This is exacerbated by the fact that taxi service in South Florida has a reputation for being unreliable, sparse, and frankly unpleasant. Consumers, from tourists to locals, deserve better transportation options and car services like Uber and Lyft have a proven track record of service and customer satisfaction. It is embarrassing that we are one of the few major metropolitan areas in the United States that does not offer this choice to its visitors and residents.

— Ana-Marie Codina Barlick, CEO, Codina Partners

Traffic conditions have deteriorated and will worsen with time given our lack of mass transit options connecting densely populated suburban neighborhoods with major employment centers. We need to offer alternate methods of transportation beyond owning a car and using traditional cab service. At the same time, more and more people are choosing to live and work in and around the urban core, where cars are becoming a luxury and not a necessity. Fewer cars on the road also means fewer carbon emissions and a cleaner environment – and that’s ultimately where we want to be as a forward thinking community.

— Tere Blanca, CEO, Blanca Commercial Real Estate

I’m an entrepreneur, so in general I’m pro-business. If an opportunity is identified and a need fulfilled, then any additional entrants into the marketplace can only raise all boats.

— Daniel Cane, CEO, Modernizing Medicine

— These car services have provide enormous flexibility for commuters in cities ranging from New York to San Francisco to Atlanta to Tampa, mostly to rave reviews. Wherever possible it’s best to leverage technology to improve old platforms. In addition, services such as UberX and Lyft which leverage fellow citizens to provide rideshare offerings operate to enhance our common sense of community and bring us closer together.

— Jaret Davis, co-managing shareholder, Miami office, Greenberg Traurig

I believe our cab and car services do a great job in this community. And, of course, I like the idea of new concepts and innovations. As long as these alternative services are properly regulated to protect the consumer, the market place will ultimately decide whether they are successful.

— Arnold Donald, president and CEO, Carnival Corp.

The concept of Uber and Lyft sounds great especially since many of our residents are from cities with much better transportation. While I completely recognize that we have a taxi system that needs a major overhaul and that our current transportation system pales in comparison to other large metros, I'm just not convinced that we are the ideal market for Uber and Lyft, at least not right now. We have existing car sharing services that are still trying to gain critical mass, and I'm not sure that adding additional services will be any more successful. This community will need to be deprogrammed in how we currently think about transportation so that we can make way for more innovative and efficient services such as Uber and Lyft. Before we become Uber and Lyft obsessed, we need to examine these services in other cities so that we protect the safety of our passengers. There have been horror stories in D.C. and in other cities where passenger's safety has been in jeopardy i.e. women molested. We need to ensure that there are strong licensing systems so that drivers are screened.

— Fabiola Fleurvanil, CEO, Blueprint Creative

I am a huge proponent of innovation and the adoption of innovative technologies. Enhancing the quality and availability of transportation options for the traveling public stands to improve the overall attractiveness of South Florida. Connectivity in South Florida is an issue that other densely populated areas of the country do not necessarily face to the same extent that it has been a challenge for us.

— Marcell D. Haywood, CEO, DirtPros

As the “Trade and Logistics” capital of the Americas, we should be focused on providing our international business executives with an international array of transportation options and services.

— Charlotte Gallogly, president, World Trade Center Miami

Uber is very convenient, especially in the urban areas — better than taxis in many cases.

— Mike Jackson, chairman and CEO, Autonation

Uber works great in New York and it should be a real benefit to SoFla.

— Keith Koenig, president, City Furniture

The more options we give people for alternative transportation, will reduce drunk driving and help congestion, especially on miami beach.

— John Kunkel, CEO, 50 Eggs

I believe in democratization of services — consumers having more options to choose should drive more efficiencies.

— Jose Li, CEO, 71 lbs

We need Uber as it provides our citizens and visitors with the best available car for hire option. The cars are nicer and the ability to have a car arrive timely and paid for on a phone application is extremely convenient. Providing competition to our current taxi industry will only force them to improve their vehicles and service in general.

— Brad Meltzer, president, Plaza Construction Group Florida

Innovative, efficient, interactive—it’s the way of the future. Competition is healthy for a less than motivated existing taxi system which is not in keeping with Miami’s future.

— Steven Owens, president, Swire Properties

There has been no motivation for Miami cab companies to improve because there’s been no competition. Hopefully the arrival of Uber and Lyft will spur some much-needed changes.

— Lauren "Lolo" Reskin, owner, Sweat Records

The travel needs of citizens of and visitors to major metropolitan areas cross a broad spectrum. I have lived and worked around the globe and experienced most all forms of conveyance across that spectrum. This complexity is expanded when the major city does not have community-wide mass transit and pedestrian options. What is left to fill that void? There is an old joke: “What’s worse than raining cats and dogs? Hailing taxis”. There are environmental and competitive circumstances that have created a void in the transportation market that Uber and Lyft are happy to fill and folks in SFL are happy to use.

— Penny Shaffer, South Florida market president, Florida Blue

I believe car services including Uber and Lyft provide more choices for tourists visiting South Florida. Plus, being accessible and flexible are a MUST in today’s world.

— Maureen A. Shea, CEO, Right Management

These car services should create competition to inspire much needed improvement in yellow cab service.

— Steven D. Sonenreich, president and CEO, Mount Sinai Medical Center

Competition is good for the community. Our taxis are old, dirty and difficult to find for service.

Teresa Weintraub, president and CEO, Fiduciary Trust International of the South

QUESTION

Does South Florida needs car services like Uber and Lyft?

Yes 91 %

No 0 %

Uncertain 9 %

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