Victory Cab halts $9 flat rate offer

The Penn Transit partnership would offer a flat rate for trips within a 3-mile radius

· January 20, 2012, 3:24 am   ·  Updated January 24, 2012, 12:22 am

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Victory Cab has suspended its $9 flat-rate Town Car service with Penn.

Last week, in a University-wide email, Undergraduate Assembly President Tyler Ernst announced that Victory Cab — in partnership with Penn Transit, Business Services and Student Health Service — would provide anyone with a valid PennCard the option of a$9 flat-rate Town Car service within a 3-mile radius of Penn’s campus.

The service would have covered the territory bound from 55th Street to 8th Street and from Cecil B. Moore Ave to Morris Street.

But the partnership did not come to fruition.

“Penn Transit has decided that it is most prudent to temporarily suspend the service until they can rectify the situation,” Ernst said.

Barbara Kruger, director of communications and external relations for Penn’s Business Services Department, wrote in an email that “we are experiencing some delays in the program rollout and need to work out some details.”

College and Wharton junior Tatyana Pazhitnykh discovered this first-hand on Saturday when she attempted to hail down a Victory Cab, eager to try the $9 offer.

“Some friends and I were going out to dinner and called the company to get a ride. We were put on hold for a while so we just got a normal cab there,” Pazhitnykh said. “We called Victory Cab again on the way back, but the representative kept saying we needed a voucher and that it would be $12.”

Ernst was initially excited for what he described as “a pretty novel service in Philadelphia” and applauded Victory Cab for piloting the program.

But for now, students like Pazhitnykh won’t have the option of the flat rate.

According to a Victory customer service representative who was unable to provide her name, “at this time, there is no $9 agreement. It’s whatever’s on the meter.”

Students seem largely unfazed by the suspension.

College junior Matt Chylak thinks the flat rate is not as cost- effective as Business Services has made it out to be.

“Nine dollars would be a good deal if the radius was larger, but it isn’t very different from the cost of taking a cab three miles through the city anyway,” Chylak said.

Victory Cab’s flat-rate may be competitive. A representative from Liberty Cabs estimated that a 3-mile ride would cost roughly $10 with tip, while PHL Taxi and Crescent Cab gave the estimate of about $14.

Chylak, though, predicts that students would not use the service very often to begin with.

“Who calls for a cab, anyway? My friends and I usually just flag one down on the street,” he said.

Pazhitnykh however, believes the service will gain popularity once Business Services confirms that it works.

“It’s a great idea as long as the cab representatives know about it,” she said. “I haven’t tried again.”

This story has been updated to clarify that cabs in Philadelphia do not charge different rates.

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