ASHEVILLE—Uber and Lyft are great if you live in the right neighborhood, have a smartphone and a credit card. If not, you’ll need a traditional cab company. But those traditional Taxi companies serving a community have trouble competing in a world with Uber and Lyft without technologically sophisticated dispatching which can be very expensive.. That’s where Asheville-based Cab Hound comes in.

Founded by George Wheeler in 2008 with investments from friends and family and loans, Cab Hound is a smartphone-based dispatching and payment system.

It has distinct advantages over the Uber and Lyft systems, Wheeler tells WRAL Techwire. It lets passengers to find, track, coordinate and pay for trips with the best available drivers determined by passenger ratings. Passengers can choose drivers who are most responsive, always within 3 minutes of when they say they’ll arrive, or other criteria.

Wheeler says he added that feature because when he was a management consultant in a new city, he wasn’t happy he had to call a cab company without knowing if he would get a good driver or a bad one.

Many have no dispatching

Cab Hound’s primary customers are not the passengers but the taxi drivers and companies. Since Uber entered the taxi market, it has become extremely competitive and many weaker traditional cab companies are being weeded out, Wheeler says.

Many smaller companies work without dispatching, hanging around airport, bus and train stations, hotels, and night clubs after hours. Traditional dispatching equipment such as that in New York City cabs costs $4,000 a cab. Companies with fewer than 100 cabs or so usually can’t afford it.

“We help the cab companies be more competitive and attract drivers with dispatching software that gets the trip out to drivers via the driver’s own cell phone,” Wheeler says. “We use cell phones the drivers already have and provide a software solution that does all that the expensive hardware did back in the day.”

“They can outsource all their phone answering to our call center, which cuts costs. Seventy percent of all costs for traditional companies is in their dispatching. So it’s really a cost savings if they can do it cheaper.”

Cab Hound helps them do it cheaper.

Cab Hound has three customers in Charlotte, three in Asheville, and others in Atlanta, and Queens and Brooklyn, New York.

The 10-employee company charges a subscription to cab company clients and a separate call center fee. Its pricing plans are on its web site.