The competition among car service companies in New York City is becoming as fierce as the war between yellow cabs and everyone else who uses the street.
Gett, which was originally founded in Israel before spreading to several European cities and most recently New York, is the newest company to ride onto the local cab service battlefield.
The company, an app-based black car service that launched in the city in September 2014 but so far only serves Manhattan, upped its ante this week by offering a promotion of $10 rides (plus tax and tip) between 110th Street and Battery Park. It recently also unveiled a service specifically tailored for corporate clients, who can order cars anywhere between two weeks to 10 minutes in advance.
While a $10 car-ride regardless of traffic, route or time of day may sound too good to be true to New Yorkers who are used to paying a similar price for a slice of pizza and a soda, Gett vice president of innovation Ron Srebro said the company has found that it’s the right price point to balance a manageable expense for customers with a decent income for drivers (who keep 100% of their tips) and the company itself.
“I think we offer customers in New York City really the best option to travel,” Srebro said.
Though Gett doesn’t yet have the level of name recognition in New York as its competitors, mainly Uber and Lyft, Srebro said it has big enough guns to get there.
Since its launch in Israel in 2010, Gett has raised $207 million in venture funding. It has more than 350 full-time employees worldwide in addition to roughly 30,000 drivers, and serves 32 cities in four countries so far. With 30 million passengers moved to date, the company has experienced 300% growth year-over-year.
Unlike Uber, Gett’s price point doesn’t fluctuate based on how much customer traffic it gets in the city at a given time, a tactic known as surge pricing, and exclusively uses black cabs.
“Yellow taxis are part of the landscape in New York City and there’s always a place for them,” Srebro said, but “our customers love to ride in black cabs.”
Gett plans to roll out to areas in Queens and Brooklyn where there is enough demand for their service in the near future, but Srebro said the company’s secret to success has been its slow and careful expansion design.
Relying largely on data, the company has a team of people who spend their days observing supply and demand in each specific area along with user behavior, like how many seconds it takes to order a car on the Gett app. This way, Gett keeps the right amount of drivers on the road to match the amount of customers in need.
“We’re really focusing on area by area and that’s how we expanded until now, we took our time,” Srebro explained. “We want to make sure that when we come to the [outer] boroughs, we do it with great pricing and a great service.”