East End cab companies following in Uber's footsteps are receiving mixed reviews from customers using their recently launched app-based taxi hailing services.
Since July 1, several companies that service Montauk and East Hampton Town have offered either the Gata Hub app or the Hamptons Taxi app. They say the technology has increased business, but there are some riders who aren't part of the boost.
"We had a terrible experience about two weeks ago in East Hampton," said Miguel Burger-Calderon, a Manhattan resident and former Uber customer who spends his summer in town.
He said his girlfriend tried calling a local app-based cab service but the app didn't work. He said he did not recall which one she tried at first but said she ended up calling several local companies to get a ride. Only one answered the phone, he said.
"It was about 2 a.m. and it took about 45 minutes to get a cab from the west side of East Hampton to the east side," Burger-Calderon said in a telephone interview Tuesday.
But Angelica Achi, who for two years has been a customer of Montauk-based Ditch Plains Taxi, said she is pleased with how things have gone since the company's Gata Hub app was introduced.
"It's been a great experience, and now that you can put it [the fee] on a credit card it's very convenient," Achi, who lives in Sudbury, Massachusetts, and visits friends in Montauk, said in a telephone interview Tuesday. "I never used Uber because there'd been no reason to."
Ditch Plains Taxi owner Mark Ripolone said that since the Gata Hub app became available July 1, about 25 percent of his approximately 200 customers have used the app, though most continue to call for a cab.
"Some don't know about the app or they used Uber and don't want to rely on another app," Ripolone said in a telephone interview Tuesday, adding that business has increased by 30 percent.
Bryan DaParma, owner of the Southampton Town and East Hampton Town-based Hometown Taxi Inc., is part of a group of taxi owners licensed to operate on the entire East End. They offer the Hamptons Taxi App.
DaParma said he could not estimate how much business has increased, but he said that since the July Fourth weekend, when the app was made available, about 300 of his customers have used it.
"We have a high influx of call volume now," DaParma said. "The drivers love it and our dispatch and response time has been cut in half."