Q: Does InstantCab use taxis or regular people?
A: The answer is both. Several hundred taxi drivers in San Francisco use InstantCab. We meet each driver personally to explain the InstantCab code to them. Given the geography of San Francisco, and the number of taxis available in the city however, it is very possible that there are no cabs available where you are at certain times of the day. So we also have a smaller group of vetted community drivers who will give you a ride in their car if they are near you. Ultimately, we match you with the best available drivers who are close to you.
Q: What is the InstantCab code?
A: We ask all members of the InstantCab community to act by the golden rule: treat others as you expect to be treated yourself. In practice, this means the following:
(1) A driver should never bail on a customer after accepting the ride. We part ways with drivers who do this.
(2) We ask customers to treat drivers with the same courtesy that they show to others in the service profession.
(3) We hold ourselves to the same standard. InstantCab employees don't just walk a metaphorical mile in your shoes. Every one of us rides shotgun with a cab driver for the equivalent of a full shift in our first month here, and we take more rides later. We also use InstantCab almost everyday. This is so we can understand the needs of both our customers and our drivers.
We cannot guarantee you a perfect experience every time, but we can guarantee that we will never stop improving. If you find something about the InstantCab experience that we can improve, please email Aarjav, our founder, at email@example.com.
Q: How do you vet community drivers and ensure a safe ride?
A: We run background checks (criminal and DMV driving record) on all of our community drivers. We inspect their cars to ensure they are clean and in working order and ensure that the drivers carry state-mandated insurance. We also make sure that our drivers are friendly, personable people. Weirdos get weeded out. If you have feedback about your driver or their car, just reply to the email listed on the receipt that gets emailed to you after each ride. For more on saftey, see here.
Q: How do I pay for my rides?
A: When you install the InstantCab app, you enter in credit or debit card information, and all of the fares and tips are paid off of this card. We only charge you for a ride after you have been dropped off at your final destination.
Q: Why do I need to give you a credit card?
A: We know that having to enter a card before hand is no fun. We ask you for a credit card because we want to make sure that every driver who commits to pick you up does that, even if they see 10 other people hailing them along the way. In fact, every InstantCab driver is required to pick up every customer whose request they accept. For a driver to do this, they need to trust every customer who makes a request. The fact that all our users have provided us their credit card number provides drivers with assurance that the customer is willing and able to pay for the ride. Rest assured, we won't charge you until you‘ve completed a ride. You can cancel your request for free up to five minutes after you are matched to a driver. Paying with a credit card also ensures that we have a record of payment and can help you resolve any issues regarding fares if needed. We take every measure to make sure that your information is secure.
Q: Is my credit card information safe?
A: InstantCab uses industry standard security to secure your credit card. We don’t actually store your information in the smart phone application or even on our servers. We validate the card with a secure payment processor, and they store your card information. They use an extensive amount of security to make sure that your card stays secure. More information is available at: https://stripe.com/help/security.
Q: What does InstantCab cost?
A: If you’re picked up by a taxi, you pay whatever is on the meter. If you’re picked up by a community driver, you pay approximately what you would if you were in a taxi. If you have a question about your fare, you can contact us at the email listed on the receipt you get via email after your ride, and we'll get back to you within a business day.
Q: How do I tip my driver?
A: Very heavily ;) Just kidding! Please tip as you normally would based on your experience. At the end of every InstantCab ride, your app will show you how much the fare was plus a defaulted 20% gratuity. You then have 5 minutes to adjust the tip to any other amount. If you don’t change anything, the total with defaulted tip will be charged. This is necessary because cab drivers are required to enter the fare and tip on their manifest after each trip, and we are required to issue a payment to each cab driver at the end of their shift.
Q: Why should I use InstantCab?
A: Getting a cab is extraordinarily hard in SF. When calling for a cab, it’s hard to say when and if one will arrive. Similarly, drivers aren't sure if someone who they are driving to pick up will be there when they arrive. We take extra care to make sure our drivers are good people and our rides are guaranteed—the driver cannot cancel on you. By doing this, we are trying to rekindle trust between drivers and riders. So by riding with InstantCab, not only are you getting a reliable ride, you are helping fix transportation for the city as a whole.
Q: Where can I get an InstantCab?
A: Anywhere in beautiful San Francisco. All you have to do is install the free application onto your mobile phone and sign up. If you are within the city limits, you can request a cab with just a few taps. We are expanding to other cities soon!
Q: Can I cancel my request if I don't need the cab any more?
A: Sometimes we understand that you just have to cancel. You can cancel your request for free up to 5 minutes after you have been matched with a driver. If you cancel more than 5 minutes after you are matched to a driver, you'll be charged a cancellation fee. This is to compensate drivers because each driver pays for their own gas. Also, canceling a request causes a driver to lose income they could have made by picking up another passenger. The cancellation fee is normally $5. On incredibly busy days such as New Year's Eve and Halloween, it is $10. If the cancellation fee is more than $5, we will show this explicitly within the app before you make a request.
Q: What about the airport?
A: You can use InstantCab to get a ride to the airport but not from the airport. San Francisco Taxicabs can only pick up customers at the SF airport at the taxi queue outside the terminal. If, for any reason, you do not find cabs available in the queue, feel free to summon an InstantCab, and we’ll send a driver to pick you up.
Q: How do I change my credit card?
A: Fill out this form and we’ll get you on the up and up.
Q: What if someone makes a mess in the car?
A: Sometimes, accidents happen. We have had some passengers get sick or make a mess in the cab. We’ve all been there, so we sympathize. If this happens though, the driver has to clean up their car and take time away from driving. Often, this takes many hours of labor. So we charge a $200 cleanup fee to the InstantCab accountholder, which is paid 100% to the driver.
Q: I see a $1 charge on my account what is it?
A: It is not a charge! To initially verify your card, our PCI compliant service payment provider processes a hold for an amount of one dollar and immediately releases the hold. Some credit card issuers some times don't clearly denote this as a temporary hold - but you will see the charge disappear in a 1-7 days. This is not an actual charge.
Without taking an InstantCab, the only other charge that you are subject to is a no-show fee. The fee is designed to compensate drivers if you cancel your ride request more than 5 minutes after a driver has started driving towards you.
Q: Can I bring my pet or service animal along for the ride?
A: Due to allergies or concerns about the vehicle, we leave it up to individual drivers to decide whether to allow pets in their car. Once you make a request and are matched with a driver, please give him or her a call so they know to expect a pet. If the driver can't have the pet in their car, you can cancel the request and request another InstantCab. We ask our drivers to allow service animals in their cars, but it's still a good idea to call up your driver and give them a head's up to expect a furry friend :)