Taxi! Take to me Broadway!

Did you know there are over 13,000 yellow cabs in NYC?  And over 50,000 drivers?

And guess what the #1 form of transportation is for a tourist in our fair city?

Yep, it’s a taxi.

Since tourists take taxis, and tourists make up the bulk of the Broadway audience, there’s got to be more that we can do inside those vehicles to help get the passengers to Broadway.

The tops of the taxis are covered in ads, and the TVs in the back can be purchased as well (for awhile, it seemed like Disney owned those mini-sets), but what about those 50,000 drivers?

In cities like Las Vegas, where tourists depend heavily on the taxi trade, shows and clubs invite the cabbies to experience their events, just like Broadway shows invite concierges and waiters/waitresses.

We don’t.  Ever.


Well, because NYC cabbies have a rep.  I mean, come on, my GPS is friendlier than 90% of the cab drivers I meet (at least my GPS talks to me, and doesn’t spend the whole ride on the phone).

We’ve made major strides in changing some of the perceptions about NYC over the past twenty years.  The sex shops are gone. The subway is safer.  But we haven’t been able to turn the taxi drivers into mobile concierges just yet.

If you’re reading, Mayor Bloomberg, it’s time to start focusing on turning the 50,000 drivers into our ambassadors.  It’s a major challenge, considering that driving a cab is a first job for so many that come to our country, but it’s unrealized marketing potential.  Their influence could be more powerful than any billboard, any banner ad, or any ad played on the TV set in the back seat.

After all, these 50,000 are the people that are literally driving sales.


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  • Josh says:

    Well, then why not treat a few taxi drivers to comp tickets in exchange for their (hopefully) positive word of mouth? Instead of just randomly giving them to a few drivers, maybe invite a large number of them to take an online survey asking about their theatre-going history/habits, and distribute comps based on that.

  • Ed from CT says:

    Great idea, Ken- but you forgot one important element that is common in Vegas but not in NYC:
    The taxi drivers have to be able to speak English.
    (Not even Chinglish, just plain old English!)

  • Brian says:

    Your GPS also doesn’t smell.

  • Josh has a good idea. Don’t wait for the city to do something. Do it yourself.
    Maybe have Taxi Drivers night at the theater. Give them a free drink and an air freshener. 🙂

  • Catherine Y says:

    That’s a really good idea. It’s be cool to somehow implement a reward system so that if a customer buys tickets to a show recommended by a cab driver, both they and the cab driver get some special discount or reward.

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