Ride or Die

Uber Is Offering a Free Taxi Ride to Every New Yorker to Promote Its Yellow Cab App

Up to $25 per ride for the next week.
771px yellow cabs 2 Uber Is Offering a Free Taxi Ride to Every New Yorker to Promote Its Yellow Cab App

(Photo: Wikimedia)

Update 9/6/2012: The TLC just issued a statement reminding drivers they are not authorized to use digitally hailing or payment apps. Uber CEO says, “We believe we are totally legal.”

Check out our interview with Uber about its plans for taxi service New York City.

Earlier this afternoon, Betabeat broke the news that Uber planned on launching a request-a-ride app for yellow cabs in New York City that would let riders digitally hail and pay for taxis with their smartphones. The company already offers a similar service here for private black sedans and SUVs.

However, Uber’s plan ran into some delays as the New York City Taxi & Limousine Commission tried to make sure that it complied with city rules and payments regulations.

As Uber tries to resolve those concerns with the agency, CEO Travis Kalanick has decided to offer the yellow cab option for free for the next week to give riders “a taste of the future,” The New York Times reported.

Josh Mohrer, general manager of Uber NYC, told Betabeat the offer begins at 8 a.m. Wednesday, September 5, and ends at 11:59 p.m Tuesday, September 11.

“We’re giving a free ride to every New Yorker,” Mr. Mohrer told Betabeat by email. “Starting tomorrow you’ll be able to request a taxi from the app, and the ride you take will be free, up to $25. After your ride is over, the taxi request option won’t be available for a week, because we want to give everyone a try.”

That’s one way to flood the market with Uber fans before Hailo, London’s answer to a taxi app, comes calling in a couple weeks.

Follow Nitasha Tiku on Twitter or via RSS. ntiku@observer.com

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