52 Educational Moments

52 Challenges Choosing a Passenger Transportation Provider

Week 1—It Ought to be Simple

How hard can this be? For a single rider, order a car through a ride-share app like Uber or Lyft. Executing simple well for an organization introduces complexities that don’t reveal themselves to an individual rider. In the coming weeks we will show you how Transit Webb delivers easy days by doing the work needed to make executing simple, simple.

Week 2—It Ought to be Simple

Is it really that hard to pick a passenger transportation vendor for an enterprise? It is for non-obvious reasons a retail ride-share customer doesn’t think about. Let’s start with this: in business if it isn’t in a contract then it isn’t agreed to. The ubiquitous Terms of Use we all click through is a contract we agree to. The vendor won’t sign a contract? Then don’t sign with the vendor.

Week 3—It Ought to be Simple

Sure, the vendor says that they have a great reputation for safety, comfort and reliability. Who would say otherwise? Can they provide referrals? If some of their business is rideshare, what is their rating with Uber or Lyft? What do the referrals say about the vendor? Transit Webb’s Alan Webb is an Uber Diamond Pro driver with a 4.94 rating over nearly 10,000 rides.

Week 4—It Ought to be Simple

Any old car will do, right? So the vendor’s fleet of old Dodge Diplomats is fine, yes? Uber allows cars that are up to 15 years old. Cars that are in full-time service can travel over 100,000 miles a year. At maximum age an Uber car could have 1.5 million miles on it. How old is the fleet? What condition are the vehicles in? Does it appear to be well maintained? Transit Webb’s cars are professionally serviced, late model, low mileage cars.

Week 5—Details Matter

The carpets are a little dirty, there are dog nose smudges on the left side, rear door, and a sippy cup is knocking into your feet during your test ride. No problem. Actually . . . problem. The fleet should be clean, well maintained, and free of sippy cups. We clean our cars before each shift.

One more thing. Open the trunk. Is it clean? What’s in it? You can expect sick bags, a spare tire, fire extinguisher, first aid kit and cleaning supplies.

Week 6—Details Matter

The car is nice, somewhat. The rear seat hvac controls are off–because they are broken. The radio has a SiriusXM logo on it but the driver says SiriusXM isn’t available. The seat pocket in front of you has a tear. Little things that can be forgiven. Or can they . . . Little things like this point to either an indifference to maintenance or a vendor that is running too many hours between scheduled services. Everything works in TransitWebb’s cars.

Week 7—Details Matter

改善. Success happens by ten thousand repetitions of fundamental details, improving at each iteration. Transit Webb thrives on executing fundamental details that make the difference between an easy day for the customer or an annoying journey from origin to destination.

Week 8—Details Matter

It happens. The big boss is coming for a visit. Everything is put right and polished. A potential vendor is going to put on their best suit, show their best vehicles, sweat their staff so that everything is perfect on a site visit—as it should be. Is this level of effort a consistent habit or a dog & pony show that is folded up and put away until the next inspection? Transit Webb maintains a high level of quality every day.

Week 9—Compliance

Everybody hates paperwork almost as much as they hate meetings. Endless process just to choose a vendor who can shuttle veterans from a transit system to a VA Hospital. Somehow, it ought to be easier. BHC's Transit Webb does the hard work so our clients experience easy days.

Week 10—Compliance

There is registration and proof of insurance. Also a DUNS number, Cage Code, and for transportation with vehicles over 9,000 lbs, DOT and MC numbers, and a BOC-3 Process Agent. All these need to be current. Transit Webb received DOT # 3501906 and MC # 1156166. Both are in pending status.

Week 11—Compliance

Documentation. Are there service records for every vehicle in the fleet? Do the service records show consistent service? Cars in commercial service see a lot of miles and need service more frequently. Transit Webb’s cars have a documented service history.

Week 12—Compliance

Vehicle records are only part of the picture. Drivers, like vehicles, should have a paper trail documenting compliance with applicable law. In addition, drivers should have certificates from recognized safety training courses like the Smith System. Last, the vendor should have records of periodic drug and/or alcohol use tests for every driver. Transit Webb tests its drivers at least six times a year and more often as needed. Our health insurance plans include addiction and recovery support.

Week 13—Fleet Quality

Did you know that the brake pads have 3mm of material left?” Drivers inspect their vehicles at the start and end of a shift. The checklist includes fluid levels, tire tread depth, and brake pad depth.

Week 14—Fleet Quality

It's fine.” No, it isn’t. When inspecting the fleet, check the fluids, including the gas gauge. It seems incredible that a car service would send a car without enough gas. Yet, sometimes a passenger is delayed because the car needs gas.

One other thing. Ask to inspect the oldest active vehicle in the fleet. The wear and tear on it should show that it is well-maintained.

Week 15—Support

It’s the bane of our existence. 1-800-BAD-RIDE (800-223-7432) and at the other end of the phone is an agent who is hard to understand and isn’t helping. What happens when you reach out to the potential vendor with a concern? Do they listen actively? Are the agents able to resolve most issues without escalating to a manager? A support call to 804-510-0788 gets you the owner of Transit Webb and a resolution to your concern.

Week 16—Support

Transportation companies often attract the unruly. Staff and customers are not always minding their manners. What is the vendor like when tempers are getting testy? Is their behavior soothing and deescalating or in the heat of it, duct tape and tinfoil hat frustrating? How do they handle aggressive drunks? Transit Webb’s Alan Webb drove a cab for 15 years. His role call of passengers includes thousands of drunks headed home. He’ll get your passenger home safely.

Week 17—Support

But then the concern is bigger than a difficult passenger. The driver was behaving out of bounds. He or she took a route different from that given in Google Maps and this changed the cost. So the issue has to be escalated. What is the vendor like when there is a serious dispute? Transit Webb serves its customer with the customer’s best interests at heart. Our driver, Alan Webb, has refunded rides when doing so was the right thing to do.

Week 18—Support

We want this. Support calls get answered without being stuck in hold-music purgatory by a live human being who speaks our language and listens actively. The person on the other end of the phone is able to resolve our issue in a single call without escalating to a manager. Transit Webb feels your pain. You can speak to the owner. Alan Webb can address your concern and quickly arrive at a resolution.

Week 19—Inclusion

In a perfect world, every customer would be more beautiful than Cleopatra, richer than Jeff Bezos, more compassionate than the Dalai Lama, and behave better than Mrs. Manners. We don’t live in a perfect world. Private car transportation isn’t a first option for many people. Transit Webb carries everybody regardless of what brought someone to us.

Week 20—Inclusion

It is a bit sad that a vendor has to say that they don’t discriminate by an aspect of a client’s heritage, gender/gender choice, choice of partner, disability, or age. Baugh Holding Company’s Transit Webb has always carried everyone who uses them for transportation. The only questions are the ability to pay and the ability to behave for the length of the ride.

Week 21—Inclusion

Walk the Talk. Talk is easy. They say they carry everybody. How far does that go? Can they do Non-Emergency Medical Transport (NEMT)? Will the drivers help blind passengers get seated? Do any of their drivers speak American Sign Language? Transit Webb regularly carries seniors to and from JenCare and Hunter Holmes Mcguire VA Hospital.

Week 22—Inclusion

Talk Walking in the community. Does the vendor have a community engagement program? What charitable giving is part of that program. Does their staff do volunteer work in the community? Not everything is just about getting from A to B.

Week 23—Customer Management

Issues. Customers have issues. Payment issues. Behavior issues. Too many passengers for the requested vehicle. Open containers, belligerence. The customer isn’t always right. The customer does deserve to have their best interests respected. Every ride where passenger and driver can walk away safe is a successful ride. Transit Webb does not teach customer service to its drivers. Instead, we teach customer management.

Week 24—Customer Management

Is there a Continuing Education program in Customer Management? What support is offered to a driver who survived a dangerous or difficult customer? Transit Webb conducts weekly driver meetings in which we debrief difficult customers.

Week 25—COVID-19 Passenger Safety

What infectious disease mitigation policies/procedures are in place? Our cars are sanitized before each shift. Our drivers wear masks. We require customers to wear a mask during their ride. We sell masks to customers who make a reservation and notify us of their need for a mask.

Week 26—COVID-19 Passenger Safety

It’s a little hard to socially distance in an average passenger car. We don’t recommend sitting in the front passenger seat. We recommend keeping the AC set to use outside air. Our vehicles have HEPA cabin air filters. For parties of up to five passengers the third row of our 2019 Ford Flex is available.

Week 27—Street Stories

“You must have some crazy stories.” Transit Webb tries to prevent crazy stories. We want our service to be uneventful. Thousands of passengers ride from A to B without a crazy story.

Week 28—Street Stories

There is a reason local radio reports traffic & weather together. Stuff happens and the fastest route becomes a parking lot. One of our drivers was directed to turn right onto a street with a railroad crossing. He saw the stopped train and continued straight to a different street with an overpass. Frustrating delay avoided. We hire experienced drivers who know the area they service.

Week 29—Street Stories

3806 Mechanicsville Turnpike (JenCare) → Redd Street at Accommodation. Two passengers, the patient and the nurse. There is a walker with old, sweaty candy at the bottom of the cloth bag attached under the seat. A groaner for many drivers. An easy day for us.

Week 30—Street Stories

1701 Fairfield Way (Richmond City Jail) → 704 England Street (Starbucks Ashland). The passenger is dressed in old school, 80s gangsta/rapper drag. He’s singing and dancing to music in his ears. These are possible triggers for suspicion. His body language is calm, happy. He gets in, confirms the destination, and gets out at the end of the ride. The driver got a $5.00 tip and five stars.

Week 31—Street Stories

University of Richmond → The Tobacco Company, a party of 8. There has been some day drinking. The girls offer to sit on laps so the extra two friends can ride with them. The driver insists that he can only carry six people. Some back and forth. Three girls leave, three remain, and ride to the Tobacco Company without incident. Five stars, $1.00 tip.

Week 32—Street Stories

Uber demands that both the driver and the passenger wear a mask. Our driver arrives at the pick-up point. The passenger arrives after a wait to within seconds of cancellation fee eligibility then appears at the car without a mask. Asks if he can just lift his hoodie over his face instead. The driver informs the passenger that this is insufficient. After some back and forth the driver pulls off and cancels the ride.

Week 33—Street Stories

Most dangerous passengers start with a script of the incident in mind and a need to control the driver’s behavior. So two things: the driver must disrupt the script and must win the behavioral chess game that is initiated before a threat and a demand is made. Three passengers, a young man, and two girls, “Mash the throttle and I’ll pay for the tickets.” Local news reported carjackings by a man and two women, “You don’t have enough money,” says our driver. “Yeah I do,” is the reply. Check. “Do you have $5 million?” “No” Mate. The driver wins, the ride completes without incident. The young man tipped $5.00.

Week 34—Street Stories

2232 West Main Street (Sticky Rice) → 721 West Main Street (VCU Student Housing) It’s early for the bar crowd. The passenger is looking a little green. She’s drunk sick silent. The driver offers a large storage bin for her lap and she accepts. It’s a short ride to the dormitory. The passenger finds the kleenex kept in the seat pocket. Nose blowing noises and destination reached. No tip but also nothing to clean.

Week 35—Street Stories

1987, Berkeley, CA at the Shattuck Avenue BART station. It’s 2:30am. A young, disheveled woman approaches the cab, “I have to get home to Orinda. My Dad said he’d pay. Can you take me?” Back then this was too big a risk to take without a deposit. This girl does need to go home. So the driver accepts the ride and makes an unspoken promise to do the ride for free if Dad won’t pay. Dad paid with a tip.

Week 36—Street Stories

”Do you have a phone charger?” Yes. Cheap ones so if it gets stolen we are not too upset. Also Kleenex travel packs we give away. We can also provide hot water and coffee supplies with a reservation.

Week 37—Street Stories

This happens at least once a week. 5001 Nine Mile Road (Walmart) → 1625 Redd Street. Two women riding and four carts of purchases. This is a Yaris eating ride. Our driver flattens the third-row seats and one of the second-row seats. The women load their purchases and fill the cargo space of our Ford Flex. One woman rides shotgun and the other is in the second row with her beer on her lap. Ride completed with a smile.

Week 38—Street Stories

We got our start with Uber when they launched in Richmond in 2015. Two stops, first to 3202 Seminary Avenue then to 520 West Franklin Street. Two passengers, both women, both tipsy. On the way to the first stop, the women are kissing and fondling each other. The driver is invited to come inside at the Seminary Avenue stop. He declines. After some flirty goodbyes, the brunette leaves the car and walks to the door of her house. The driver heads to Franklin Street. Passenger #2, blonde, “That’s not me. I’m not like that. I like boys. She’s just a little drunk. I have her car keys.”

Week 39—Street Stories

1105 St. James Street → 5001 Nine Mile Road, two passengers, a man and a woman. The profile matches risky passengers. The topic of rules and cheats comes up. This quote, “for every law there is a trick (por cada ley hay una trampa)” amuses the male passenger. For the remainder of the ride they trade stories of laws tricked. Ride completes, passenger paid a $5,00 tip.

Week 40—Street Stories

100 S 12th Street (Omni Hotel) to McDonald’s on Brooklyn Park Blvd. The closest McDonald’s is at 2011 Chamberlayne Avenue. Passenger gets into the cab and sits in the shotgun seat. A half-mile up West Main Street he crawls into the back seat. He is mumbling turn instructions to the driver, “Sir, are you going to the McDonald’s?” “Yes,” is the reply. On arriving at McDonald’s he says this is the wrong one. Whatever. The driver tells the passenger to get out of the cab. Cross words exchanged but the passenger exits without paying. Still a win because the only injury is to the driver’s desire to be paid.

Week 41—Street Stories

1201 West Marshall Street. The passenger speaks Spanish. She spots the placard hung over the back seat. After a minute of silence, “¿Eres Alan Webb?” “Si,” replies the driver. “¿TransitWebb es su negocio?” Limit of Spanish knowledge reached, “I don’t speak Spanish.” “Esta señal es muy buena. ¡Gracias por el viaje y que tengas un gran día!,” and the ride completes.

Week 42—Street Stories

Drunk requesting an Uber. 1001 Haxall Point → Jefferson Hotel !Jefferson PA! (Estimated $484.50) Driver arrives and verbally confirms destination. Passenger says, “That’s wrong. I’m going to the Jefferson Hotel.” Understood. 101 West Franklin Street (About $5.00). Both have a laugh.

Week 43—Street Stories

Drunk requesting an Uber. 2015, after bar close. 3166 West Cary Street (Babes), destination not shown. Pickup address displayed is 3166 East Cary Street. East Cary stops at Pear Street, around the 2700 block. Driver attempts to find 3166 East Cary Street with no luck. Messages passenger and finds out she’s at Babes. Bother. Cross town drive to pick up passenger, who is going to Virginia Beach.

Week 44—Street Stories

Sunday morning. 1006 Park Avenue → 700 West Broad (VCU Student Housing) Passenger is still dressed in man catcher drag—red satin shift that rebels against keeping her covered, red fishnets and stripper heels. The makeup has lost its hotness. Hangover body language, “Never made it home?” “Just drive, sir.” Aye aye.

Week 45—Street Stories

4350 Commerce Road (Red Roof Inn)→ 1833 Commerce Road (Colonial Ford Commercial Trucks). The passenger has a large Great Dane. He asks if the dog can ride. Not in the second row because the dog is huge. The driver flattens the third row seats, sees that more space is needed, flattens the second row seats and opens the rear gate. Dog loaded, passenger rides shotgun. During the ride the passenger asks about chartering our Ford Flex.

Week 46—Street Stories

“Have you ever given a ride to anyone famous or rich?” Maybe. People of all stripes and social strata ride with us. One of the bits of knowledge we are entrusted with is the trip origin, destination and identity of our passengers. Whether the passenger is a battered woman, celebrity, drug addict, political leader, Walmart worker, wealthy artist or just a college student out on the town we provide the same level of service. That includes being discrete about the things people say in our cars, where we picked them up, where they went and who they are.

Week 47—Wrapping Up

Working with a good passenger transportation partner should be easy days. The partner’s contracts are easy to read and simple to understand. The focus of the contract is on serving the client to the mutual benefit of the client and the partner.

Week 48—Wrapping Up

Another easy day thing: reputation. A good partner’s reputation will be admirable and documented. Transit Webb is an Uber Diamond Pro partner with a 4.94 rating over nearly 10,000 rides. Previous to rideshare, Transit Webb’s Alan Webb drove a cab in Oakland, Ca for 13 years with no accidents, robberies or tickets.

Week 49—It Ought to be Simple

Details matter. Little things unattended to point to either an indifference to maintenance or a vendor that is running too many hours between scheduled services. Everything works in Transit Webb’s 2019 Ford Flex.

Week 50—Wrapping Up

Speaking of paperwork and compliance. What was the interview with the partner like? How was their body language? Are their answers clear and confidence inspiring or . . . sort of give you the willies?

By way of an answer, one should never ask a question for which you don’t know the answer. Alan Webb is a subject matter expert on the seemingly simple task of carrying people from A to B. His answers inspire confidence.

Week 51—Wrapping Up

Mastery is quiet. Things just go well. The work that goes into a well executed ride should be invisible to the client. Transit Webb does the work to make every ride a well executed part of a delivered easy day for our customers.

Week 52—Wrapping Up

Nearly 10,000 people rode with us in 5 years of serving Uber customers. In that time we have driven over 125,000 miles accident free. We have received 159 “Excellent Service” compliments from Uber riders. Baugh Holding Company’s Transit Webb delivers its easy day promise to 100 people a week.

The vendor to choose has an excellent safety record, well maintained, low mile cars, is pleasant to deal with when disputes occur and competitive rates. Passengers that ride with the proposed vendor can relax knowing that their travel will be safe and pleasant. The vendor to choose is Transit Webb.