If you’re out celebrating this evening, and you need a cab ride home, the company offering Seattle’s first taxi-hailing app is running a promotion that may be of interest:

Flywheel wants to make sure Seattleites are safe tomorrow evening while enjoying all the Halloween festivities. Flywheel is offering free rides up to $20 for the first 300 Flywheel requests starting at 8pm tomorrow evening. […] This offer applies to all Flywheel users in the Seattle area – not just first timers!

Flywheel joins a competitive and sometimes controversial market of ride-sharing apps in US cities, which includes licensed town-car hires (Uber), unlicensed drivers working for donations (Sidecar, Lyft, UberX) and taxi-hailing services (Taxi Magic, Hailo). Flywheel cars will initially be provided by East Side for Hire:

Flywheel has initially partnered with Seattle’s leading transportation company, East Side for Hire, to launch their service in the area. They have equipped over 260 East Side for Hire cars and drivers with the Flywheel technology needed to respond to ride requests in Seattle and the surrounding areas including Bellevue, Burien, Federal Way, Issaquah, Kent, Kirkland, Mercer Island, Northgate, Redmond, SeaTac and Shoreline.

East Side for Hire maintains fleets similar to taxis, but instead of a meter, they offer customers flat rates calculated by pickup and drop-off zip code. The company has received superior ratings and is the most affordable option in the area, with a typical for-hire ride from downtown Seattle to the airport costing $29.

Affordable, safe, easy-to-use taxis are a part of car-free living, and Hailo worked well for me when I was recently in London. I’m glad to see more players move into the Seattle market.

15 Replies to “Tonight: 300 Free Cab Rides for Halloween”

  1. East Side for Hire…offers customers flat rates calculated by pickup and drop-off zip code

    So that’s why it was so cheap. I used Flywheel for the first time about a week ago and thought it was a lot better than Uber. Beyond those two I haven’t tried anything else.

    1. Hi Tim!

      Thanks for your comment. Yes, thanks to ESFH’s flat rate zip to zip model we are almost always the most inexpensive way to get around town. We would love to hear anymore feedback you have on your experience if you’d like to share it!

      Flywheel Seattle

    1. Yes indeed. At the end of every ride, users have the opportunity to rate their driver and leave a comment before closing out.

      Flywheel Seattle

  2. I’ve never used ESFH, assuming they really only served the Eastside. Is there one taxi app that connects all taxi companies or do I have to have a different app for each? I honestly don’t much care who picks up my drunken ass when I need a cab. Just want to get home as quickly, efficiently, and inexpensively as possible.

    1. ESFH also serves Seattle as well. In Seattle, they are known as “Flat Rate For Hire”, but it’s the same company. As long as you have reasonable advance notice, I have found ESFH to be very reliable. A couple weeks ago, I used them to catch a very early flight out of SeaTac (needed to be at the airport around 4:30 AM, before Link service started up for the day). They were right on time and I had no issues. I booked the trip using Taxi Magic the night before.

    2. Hi Leif,

      Yes, ESFH serves both Seattle and the East Side. Flywheel is currently working with the ESFH fleet to give our rides in Seattle but as we expand to include more fleets you will still be able to access all of them through the one app.

      Flywheel Seattle

  3. Last time I checked, Taxi Magic seems to only contract with one taxi company per area. I’ve never heard of one that covers more than one company, much less all of them.

    Ironically. an app that summoned the nearest available cab from any company (or on a rotating basis) would be useful — not only for passengers but also for taxicab drivers.

    The converse problem of a potential passenger looking for a fare is the potential passenger who calls several companies ordering a cab, taking the one that comes first, then leaving the others to spend a lot of time looking for their customer. (Then the other customers wonder where the cabs are.) An app would solve that problem, too! But it would also require cab companies to work together. In this lifetime.

    BTW, we drivers have a name for people who call several cabs then watch us all race to them. Sadly, the word is unprintable in a public forum.

    1. “BTW, we drivers have a name for people who call several cabs then watch us all race to them. Sadly, the word is unprintable in a public forum.”

      Do cab companies blacklist phone numbers of people who repeatedly do this?

      1. Do cab companies blacklist phone numbers of people who repeatedly do this?

        Not really.

        Different companies will deal with this differently, but in general, it would be pretty onerous to keep track of all the “bad guys” phone numbers, for not a lot of gain. There will be a short list for some of the most egregious cases. If someone is causing problems, a dispatcher will decide not to serve them for the rest of the night. But there isn’t that much value in tracking phone numbers. But if they are doing it often enough that the dispatcher remembers them, it might be hard to get a cab.

        We really can’t blacklist an address. Someone else may move in to the apartment, and the perpetrator will just use the address next door then appear in the front yard. And, actually, this happens most often in public places, anyway. Just have to live with it.

        Street Justice: If I get there at the same time as the differently-colored cab, we just might compare notes to make sure there wasn’t actually two different people at the same address. If we do determine that the same person called multiple cabs (and this will not happen to vulnerable people, don’t worry), we both might accidentally not find them standing there. And, unofficially of course, the dispatcher might not send another cab later.

  4. Everytime I see a car with a giant pink mustache, all I think is “can’t make their car payments”.

    1. So True. I tried Lyft and stopped using it. I basically got the impression it was a bunch of 20 and 30 year olds living well beyond their means, and trying to make some ends meet.

      Yes, I live in a glass house and throw stones, too.

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