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  • TACKzee rolls out on Nantucket

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    August 20, 2018

     

    NANTUCKET — A new app has rolled out that is intended to help island cab drivers compete with Uber and other ride-hailing services.

    TACKzee, which was released for iPhones last week and for Androids last month, allows someone looking for a ride to use a smartphone-based ordering system like that popularized by Uber and Lyft to hail an island taxi, said the app’s creator Doug Kruse.

    A part-time Nantucket resident, Kruse came up with the idea last summer while trying to get home from dinner in Siasconset, on the outskirts of the islands. After hitching a ride there, he thought he’d have no problem getting back to his house.

    After dinner though, the approximately 3½-mile Uber ride back to his place was going to cost him as much as $50, Kruse said. So he started to look through the multitude of cab companies on the island, but had trouble getting one to come out that way while they were doing business in Madaket or downtown.

    “There has to be a better way,” he recalled thinking.

    Unlikeride-hailing services, taxis on Nantucket have a rigid price structure set by the town. Ubers and Lyfts can charge surge pricing at different times of day, but offer convenience to order a ride at the touch of a button.

    Kruse hopes his app will marry those two — the ease of Uber with the set prices of taxis — and help out locals trying to make a living as cabbies. TACKzee adds a service fee on top of the fare, but it doesn’t cost customers anything to download or drivers to use.

    Customers pay through the app, similar to ride-hailing apps.

    Over the winter, Kruse reached out to cab drivers and said Wednesday that he has had about 100 sign up for the app, spread across several cab companies.

    The rollout has had some hiccups and the release of the iPhone version took longer than he wanted, Kruse said. Android users make up a small portion of people trying to get around on Nantucket, so the app is still in the early goings, he said.

    “I think it will be fantastic,” said John Dickerson, a driver with Tuck-Tuck Taxi.

    Taxi drivers have more town regulations that they need comply with and have to pay to do pickups at places such as the airport, Dickerson said.

    He said he worries that cab companies could die out, meaning surge pricing could be the norm. Having the convenience of the app, once it starts to catch on, will help level the playing field, he said.

    Dickerson, who has been driving a cab since the early 1990s, said he expects locals will start using it, and it will get a stronger foothold next summer.

    “This app is going to save the taxis,” he said.

    — Follow Ethan Genter on Twitter: @EthanGenterCCT.

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