In an effort to keep up with the times, one local taxi company now has a way for customers to request a cab by using a smartphone app.

Santa Barbara Yellow Cab has teamed up with Toronto, Ontario-based Gata Labs software company to offer the app called Gata Hub.

The service differs from other ride-sharing companies operating locally, such as Uber and Lyft, because passengers can pay with credit cards or cash — in-person or on the app, in most cases.


All customers put into the app is a name and cell phone number.

The Canadian platform-as-a-service company contacted Yellow Cab a month ago with the mobile-based idea, since Gata Labs partners exclusively with reputable local taxi fleets that only employ insured and fully licensed drivers.

So far, Gata Hub is in 70 regions across the United States and Canada.

“We are constantly adding new regions across North America to our app,” Gata Labs spokesman Travis Bashir said. “We will be launching in other parts of California, including Sacramento, in the near future.”

Sue Morris, operations director of Santa Barbara Yellow Cab, described the app as providing an alternative for taxi companies to combat other smartphone-friendly industry competitors.

Customers download the app for free, enter in a phone number, and the technology uses GPS to locate them, she said.

All requests are routed through the usual dispatcher, who finds the closest of Yellow Cab’s 20 or so taxis and sends them to the customer.

The cabs have running meters and charge by the mile, per city regulations, Morris said.

What sold Morris on the service was the fact that Gata Hub operates in different cities, so visitors could already be familiar with it.

She hasn’t tracked the service much since it started because cab drivers can’t tell the difference between a request made from the app, online or a phone call.

“Hopefully, it would bring in a little more business,” Morris said. “We need to just stay with the times. If people like apps, they have an option to use Yellow Cab as well. You’re actually getting the guys that do it professionally; that do it for a living.”

She said Yellow Cab was putting Gata Hub stickers on all its taxis.

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff can be reached at gpotthoff@noozhawk.com. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.