Two taxi companies in Saskatoon are preparing to launch a service that will allow their customers to hail cabs by texting.
Comfort Cab and United Cabs hope to have the new option ready "in the next couple months at the very latest," said Shondra Boire, a spokesperson for the Saskatchewan Taxi Cab Association and operations manager for Comfort Cab.
"Instead of calling, say, Comfort Cab's line, you will be able to text that number without actually physically having to talk to a dispatcher or wait on hold," said Boire.
While both Comfort Cab and United Cabs have apps for ordering a cab — the former through OneLocal, the latter via its own proprietary app — "there are some people that don't do the whole app [thing]," said Boire.
"But almost everybody who has a cell phone, they know how to text. It's just an easier option for people."
'Must improve our service'
News of the oncoming texting option came in a press release that both addressed a local lawyer's recent suggestion that people should consider using Uber if they're too impaired to drive and said what the mainstream taxi industry is doing to improve its own service.
"The Saskatoon taxi industry also acknowledges that it isn't good enough to simply find fault with Uber," the release stated. "The public expects and deserves more. We can and we must improve our service.
"That's why we now have apps for ordering a cab ride. We continue to invest in new technology to make dispatch more efficient and reduce wait times for our customers."
Boire said the numbers to text Comfort Cab and United Cabs will be the same as both lines' current phone numbers.