Nawlins Cab is the most recent addition to the city streets, opening in early 2013 as the first premium taxi service in New Orleans. The company culture and the emerging technological advancements in place in all the cabs are making bookings easier and keeping drivers safer. Founded by Sheree Kerner, Nawlins Cab has quite the story behind it.
As the oldest taxi family around, the Kerners have been in business for over 80 years. William Kerner II was a founding member of United Cab in the late 1930s, who then passed his CPNC number to his son (see video below) William III. William III stepped down in 2000, passing the number along again to his son, William “Billy” Kerner IV. Billy ran for the board at United Cab and won. On May 27, 2011, in a tragic turn of events, Billy was murdered by a passenger over an unpaid fare.
After his death, officers found the note (pictured below) written by Billy about the safety benefits of digital dispatch. Upon reading this note, former United Cab President, member and operator of six cabs, Sheree Kerner, took it as a sign to, “continue his mission.”
Safety and new technology were two driving factors pushing Sheree to break off on her own from United. She said technology is affecting the cab industry in the same way the Internet affected retail businesses. If you don’t move forward you can be left in the dust. Sheree is confident her customers will be happy, “booking via web app in three seconds rather than waiting to hail a cab for ten to twenty minutes.”
All Nawlins Cabs are equipped with a camera, which can even take pictures in pitch black, a credit card processor, and GPS tracking. Each cab has a PIM data system so the office and the bureau can determine all details of a trip if a closer look or an investigation is needed.
The new dispatch system provides safety beyond a camera in addition to ease of use and information retrieval. Sheree said, “Technology can also make it possible to get every question you would have of a driver answered. Technology makes cabs true ambassadors of the city.”
The new system is available on both iPhone and Android platforms. Although the exact download numbers are not known, Sheree said over the past 30 days 2,800 people visited the website over 3,000 times, or about 100 hits per day. These visitors could either be downloading or booking through the website. Not surprisingly, 2,400 of those 2,800 visitors visited through a smartphone. Sheree notes, “people like to use their fingers these days.”
Sheree is happy how everything turned out after such a sad and changed last year. She feels like she has won the lottery, she says. Nawlins Cab has invented some of the technology and been beta testing it through the process, so even with a few bumps on the road (no pun intended), the company has a lot to look forward to.
Her favorite part of the cab industry is, “helping the drivers achieve a better life, working with the city, and pleasing the hospitality industry.”
In one year, Sheree thinks Nawlins Cab, “will be seen as the ‘best taxi service offered in the United States,’ by our peers around the country – that is a strategic planning goal. I think we will totally go beyond our customers expectations. I think that people will get in our cabs just to take a ride across the causeway bridge and back just to enjoy the ride I have planned for them. Stay tuned!”