Riding With Rebel Cab Companies Fat Taxi and RedCar

These businesses and ones like them are threatening OC's traditional taxi industry

In April, RedCar launched its Safe Rides service, which drives customers home in their own cars. It's a popular alternative to taxis due to price and convenience. "I see the No. 1 reason why people drink and drive is because they don't want to leave their car at the bar and get towed," Kresimir says. "And then they have to take another cab to their car in the morning. We're giving them attractive alternatives."

Safe Rides is currently on hiatus while the company focuses on building the Town Car service and launching the app. Gio, consultant for RedCar, explains the app will find a customer's location and call the nearest car with the press of a button. Users will see where the driver is in real time on a map and be able to communicate with the driver via text on the app.

"Me being a cab user, I've been stuck in the cold in front of Harbor House, wondering where my cab is," Kresimir says. "And then when you call, the dispatcher's rude. To be able to see where the cab is in real time is awesome."

Fat Taxi will get you there safely for less
Riley Kern
Fat Taxi will get you there safely for less
Fat Taxi has become a fixture in 
Huntington Beach’s nightlife scene
Riley Kern
Fat Taxi has become a fixture in Huntington Beach’s nightlife scene

Users can create profiles and even a music playlist the driver can play during the ride. Customers can rate the driver on the app after being dropped off. It'll also have reviewable profiles for local bars and restaurants that people may want to get a ride to.

"It's first-hand, user-driven recommendations for Orange County," Gio says. "It's meant not only to service clients, but also as a resource for small, local businesses—and it's good to partner with them because we're all intertwined."

Ultimately, RedCar wants to go against the grain of the traditional taxi industry, Gio says. "Having a good-looking, energetic staff is the business model we want to have."

Kresimir says RedCar's priority is overwhelming, over-the-top customer service. "Our goal is to reinvent the business," he says. "We need to change how things are being done."

Funny thing is, Ace at Fat Taxi says it's the fact the service hasn't changed in 40 years that has kept people coming back.

"We're just operating how we were taught 40 years ago," Ace says. "If the industry hadn't changed and everyone still worked like that, Tiny and I wouldn't stand out at all."

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