All Hail the App



Ben Millspaugh

Greenwich resident Ben Millspaugh works as a chief technology officer in one of those off-the-beaten-taxi-path Manhattan neighborhoods. So for him, hailing one of the city’s approximately 13,000 yellow cabs was never as easy as stepping into a street and raising a hand for attention. Actually, when is that ever really easy?

Millspaugh started to ruminate on the phantom taxi dilemma while riding another commuter vessel—the Metro-North train. While traveling from Cos Cob, he sketched ideas for technological applications on napkins.

And that’s how Millspaugh conceived ZabKab, a patent-pending smartphone app that allows passengers to summon a cab with a virtual hail. The novel app was introduced to New York City cabbies and passengers late this summer.

“The idea is so elegantly simple that the reaction we get a lot is why anyone didn’t think of this sooner,” says Millspaugh’s business partner, Martin Heikel, a Mt. Kisco resident and seasoned telecommunications executive who together with Millspaugh launched Flatiron Apps last year to bring ZabKab to market.

ZabKab allows cabbies to see—via their smartphone screens—where potential passengers who’ve sent signals are waiting for rides. (Simulated icons of passengers actually pop up on a GPS-style map.) “It’s a bird’s-eye view for the cabbie around those street corners and side streets they can’t normally see,” says Heikel.

The conceptual brilliance—beyond its practical applications—is that the app complies with the regulations of the New York City Taxi & Limousine Commission, which forbids summoning a medallion cab with anything but an old-fashioned street hail. Since ZabKab doesn’t enable any prearranged booking, it doesn’t break any TLC rules.

Downloads of the app are free for passengers and at press time 20,000  have availed themselves of the technology. Cabbies pay a monthly fee of between $9.95 and $14.95 (depending on subscription duration) after a free ninety-day trial.

Of course, even inspired technologies have their kinks: ZabKab only works for cabbies who own smartphones and less than half of the city’s 30,000 taxi drivers actually do. But the approximately 2,000 drivers who’ve signed on so far are “jazzed about it,” says Heikel, who says statistics show that the typical taxi driver spends about 25 percent of their day “just driving looking for fares.” With ZabKab, “they’ll know that just a few blocks away they can snag another passenger.” Which means less wondering and less waiting for all.

 

Greenwich Agenda

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     @ Meli-Melo of Greenwich

    Dr. Julia Trebing, Director Creative Therapies in Stamford, CT exhibits her paintings at Meli-Melo Creperie & Juice Bar  during Sept...

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    2014.09.20
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  • Wall Street Tennis Challenge

    2014.09.20
     @ Greenwich Country Club

    The goal of The Wall Street Tennis Challenge is to support the Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation’s efforts while spreading awareness...

  • Nigh Season: New Paintings By David Konigsberg

    2014.09.13
     @ Kenise Barnes Fine Art

    Dates: September 13 – October 31, 2014 Opening Reception: September 13, 6 – 8:30 PM  Public Invited   NIGH...

  • Undulate: Paintings By Julie Gross and Margaret Neill

    2014.09.13
     @ Kenise Barnes Fine Art

    GALLERY II Dates: September 13 – October 31, 2014 Opening Reception: September 13, 6 – 8:30 PM Public Invited...

  • Isaia Fall Trunk Show

    2014.09.19
     @ Richards

  • Nam Cho Trunk Show

    2014.09.20
     @ Richards

  • Parties at the JCC Center

    2014.09.02
     @ Stamford JCC

    A place to celebrate birthdays and special occasions. Be a guest at your own party! The JCC offers a wonderful space for you and your guests to...

  • Arts & Crafts on Bedford

    2014.09.20
     @ Bedford Street

    Shop at over 100 craft and artisan boutiques on Bedford Street, which will be closed to traffic for the weekend. Dine in our extended sidewalk...

  • Puttin’ On The Dog Festival

    2014.09.21
     @ Roger Sherman Baldwin Park

    Puttin’ On The Dog Festival Greenwich, Connecticut the place to be on September 21st for dogs and their owners...

  • Candy Fairies Book Reading

    2014.09.21
     @ Imagine Candy

    SCARSDALE, NY, Imagine Candy brings the acclaimed children's author Helen Perelman, the writer of the wickedly sweet Candy Fairies book...

  • Chizi's Tale Book Launch Party

    2014.09.21
     @ Tudor Investment Campus

    You and your family are invited to join Diane's Books of Greenwich and TUSK USA to celebrate the launch of Chizi's Tale: The True Story...

  • Chizi's Tale Book Launch Party

    2014.09.21
     @ Tudor Investment Campus

    You and your family are invited to join Diane's Books of Greenwich and TUSK USA to celebrate the launch of Chizi's Tale: The True Story...

  • SM&NC Farm Market

    2014.06.15
     @ Stamford Museum & Nature Center

    Sundays, June 15 – October 5, 10am – 2pm We're thrilled to bring back the SM&NC Farm Market — now on Sundays!...

  • "Israel and the U.S."

    2014.09.22
     @ New Canaan Library

    The public is invited to attend a World Affairs Forum Great Decisions event featuring Seth Anziska, Columbia University. Mr. Anziska will speak...

  • Holistic Health Practitioner Kevin W. Reese

    2014.09.24
     @ Meli-Melo

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  • Annual State of the Town Address and Luncheon | Greenwich, CT

    2014.09.25
     @ Milbrook Club

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  • Greenwich Harbor Sunset Wine Cruise | Greenwich, CT

    2014.06.05
     @ Delamar Hotel Dock

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  • Aaron Henry Trunk Show & Personal Appearance

    2014.09.26
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