NEW ORLEANS -- Traditional cab companies are looking to technology to compete with ride-sharing companies that have started operating in the city.
When Tulane student Lucian Goodman and his friends travel around town, Uber is typically their way to go.
"Here in the Uptown area, Uber is dominant. Especially amongst Tulane students," Goodman said.
Goodman said his reason for riding Uber is because it is cheaper and it is always accessible. Goodman believes that is not the case when it comes to hailing a cab.
"I don't think the systems in place for cabs right now is nearly as efficient. Nor do I think that cabs in this city, in particular, are accessible," Goodman said.
Sheree Kerner owns Nawlins Cab and wants to change that reputation, by creating an app called 'Fwheet.'
"Fwheet is actually the sound that your fingers make when you whistle for a taxi. We have our app connected to the meter, so that way, we can ensure the regulated rates," Kerner said.
Riders create an account, request service or make reservations. The nearest taxi will then show up at the rider’s location. Riders will also have access to the driver and can search the driver's riding history. A $1 tech fee is added to the fare. Fwheet also gives the rider different ways of getting in touch with them.
"We want to be able to offer to the customer to call and get their call answered reliably, on web booking also beside the app, as well as flags," Kerner said.
Many cab drivers said services like Uber and Lyft have been tough, not just on their business, but their lives.
"They are struggling and working 12 to 14 hour days, every day, just to kind of scrape by," Nawlins Cab Driver Gabriel Daste said.
Daste thinks it's a great idea his company is investing in this new app. However, he still worries about his competition.
"It's kind of hard to compete when you're limited to, or you're regulated to what, 1,700 cabs. And there are 6,000 other options that can be to you within two to three minutes," Daste said.
After hearing about the new app, Goodman said he will give the taxi apps a chance.
"Definitely, yeah. I mean, if they made it as affordable. If they made it similar. I couldn't see any reason not to," Goodman said.
Nawlins Taxi said a 20 percent tip is automatically added to the fare, along with a $1 account fee.
Passengers can also receive a printed or email receipt.
(© 2016 WWL)