The title of this blog should really be about honesty and trust. But I write about those so often that it is worthwhile going directly to the example.
I had a chance to try out the Daimler system in Seattle called car2go. Once you are registered you are given a card that you tap on the front window of a Smart car and the doors open. The Smart cars in Seattle are usually within a block or two of wherever you are. They are shown on a map on your smartphone. You drive the car, at a rate of $.40 a minute, and you leave it where you finished, as long as it is within the Seattle boundaries. Tap the front window with your card to end the trip and lock the car.
The system was magnificent and is in use in dozens of cities around the world and many in the United States. (Check this site upper right window for cities where the system is operating.)
The big question is why are taxi services in many of these cities so miserable?
For me the answer is simple. I had ordered the Yellow Cab company service many times up until the one time when the cab did not arrive and I was late for a very important appointment. Since then I have never called a cab in San Francisco and never will.
I have pointed out in earlier blogs that if a person is cheated at two stores in a shopping mall they will never return to that shopping mall. Having been cheated once with a taxi I will not use a taxi service again.
There are now three taxi-similar services in San Francisco all of which are based on smartphone functions. They were necessary to compensate for the incompetence of the traditional taxi services.
I understand the taxi drivers position. They show up at houses that have made reservations and there is no one there. That just happens to be the nature of the taxi business. For the taxi driver to make a policy to not show up will destroy and has destroyed the entire taxi system.
Need I say that commerce requires honesty (openness), integrity and reliability. Since honesty is in short supply in most societies it is small wonder that commerce does not thrive in those societies. To a limited extent smartphones provide some of the honesty (openness) that commerce requires.