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Here We Go Again: Appeals Court Puts the Kibosh on the TLC’s Taxi Apps Pilot Program

(Photo by Chris Hondros/Getty Images)

If this back-and-forth keeps up, we’re all going to get whiplash. Bloomberg News reports that once again, the courts have blocked the Taxi and Limousine Commission’s ehail pilot program, just days after it was given the all-clear. The black car business has appealed the dismissal of its suit against the program, and an appeals court judge has granted a temporary injunction until there’s a decision.

Good thing this broke after the end of TechCrunch Disrupt, or we might have had a disruptors’ riot on our hands.  Read More

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Mayor Bloomberg on Taxi Apps: ‘There Is a Group of Cab Owners That Are Opposed to Anything’

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This morning, on his weekly Friday radio show with John Gambling, Mayor Bloomberg discussed the Taxi and Limousine Commission’s vote in favor of a year-long pilot program to test out e-hailing apps, which let riders flag down a cab with their smartphone.

As we noted yesterday, the pilot was a last-minute compromise when it seemed like lobbying from black car and livery car incumbents would prohibit the passage of permanent rules to open up the taxi market to any app with a license. (Black cars and liveries worry that the ability to “pre-arrange” taxi rides with an an app will hurt their business.)   Read More

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Q&A With TLC Chairman David Yassky About Tomorrow’s Big Vote on Smartphone Apps for Taxis

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Tomorrow morning, New York City’s Taxi and Limousine Commission will hold a momentous vote at its headquarters on 33 Beaver Street concerning two sets of proposed rules–one of which could radically alter the taxi hailing experience for New Yorkers.

That highly contested proposal calls for changing e-hailing rules that have traditionally given yellow cabs province over street hails, where black cars and livery cabs focus on prearranged rides. If passed, those e-hail rules would open up New York’s massive, much-coveted market for yellow cabs to any request-a-ride app that meets guidelines and secures a license.

So rather than having to hail a taxi on the street, these apps will let you flag down and pay for a taxi with a few taps of your smartphone. Read More

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TLC Releases New Rules That Permit E-Hailing & Paying with Apps, May Cancel RFP [UPDATED]

(Photo by Chris Hondros/Getty Images)

UPDATE: The TLC is only contemplating canceling the RFP for smartphone apps. “While we don’t anticipate the need to proceed further with the RFP, if the rules are not passed as proposed, we may in fact choose to proceed with it,” TLC spokesman Allan Fromberg clarifies. 

As expected, the New York City Taxi and Limousine released proposed regulations today that call for allowing riders to e-hail and pay for taxis through a smartphone app. However, along with the new rules, the TLC is cancelling is considering canceling its request-for-proposal from March soliciting smartphone apps: “Because the e-hail rules will enable app developers to offer riders fare payment products, the RFP will no longer be necessary,” the agency said in an press release.

Nineteen startups submitted proposals, including Uber, Hailo, Get Taxi, and Taxi Magic. Read More

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Scrrrreech! The TLC Explains Why Square Stopped Its Pilot Program in NYC Taxis [UPDATED]

Misty, Instagram-filtered memories, of the way we were. (Photo: nycgov.tumblr.com)

Ouch, we think we just got whiplash. A couple weeks ago, Mayor Bloomberg was photo-opping in the backseat with Jack Dorsey, founder of the mobile payments company Square.

But this afternoon, the New York Post got its hand on a letter from Square to the New York Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) announcing that the company has suddenly pulled out of its pilot program in yellow cabs, which the agency recently stated was going swimmingly.

The pilot run in 13 cabs was testing Square’s service–featuring iPads in the vehicle’s partition and iPhones in the front–as a replacement for TPEP, the agency’s internal moniker for the TV screens and credit card swipers currently run by an exclusive contract with Verifone and CMT that expires this coming February.  Read More

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Uber Sued for Consumer Fraud and Unlawful Practices by Chicago Taxi and Limo Companies

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A number of Chicago taxi and limousine companies filed a lawsuit (below) today against Uber, the request-a-ride company that lets you e-hail and pay for a car with your smartphone.

In April, the San Francisco startup expanded its service in Chicago from black cars to include taxis as well. (Uber’s recent attempt to expand from black cars to yellow taxis in New York City were swatted down last month by the Taxi and Limousine Commission.)

Although Uber’s brash tactics and outspoken CEO, Travis Kalanick, have rankled city governments and competitors–the complaint even features a screengrab of a contentious tweet from Mr. Kalanick and references his open criticism of “of any regulation in general”–this marks the first time a taxi or limousine company has filed a suit against Uber. Read More

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While Talks with the TLC Stall Out, Uber Partners With HBO to Give New Yorkers a Free Ride in a Vintage Whip

Uber HBO Boardwalk Empire

Uber will not go gently into that good night. The request-a-ride app raged against New York City’s Taxi and Limousine Commission last week for putting a stop to its rogue mission to let New Yorkers hail and pay for a yellow cab with a few taps of their smartphone. Uber already offers the services for black cars and hybrid cars, but at a hefty premium.

To keep the company top of mind for New Yorkers, Uber is partnering with HBO today and tomorrow to promote the premiere of the third season of “Boardwalk Empire” this Sunday. The startup will be offering free rides in a fleet of vintage vehicles from the Roaring 20′s on September 13th and 14th. The offer is only available 11am to 6pm and only for up to three people travelling between Midtown and Soho in Manhattan.  Read More

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Taxi & Limousine Commission Tells Uber It Can’t Legally Operate a Taxi App In NYC, Uber CEO Disagrees

(Photo: Wikimedia)

“We got a love letter from the TLC,” Uber CEO Travis Kalanick just told Betabeat over the phone. He was referring, sarcastically, to a statement issued today by the Taxi and Limousine Commission to “remind” medallion yellow cab drivers and owners that the TLC “has NOT authorized any electronic hailing or payment applications (‘apps’) for Read More

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Uber Wants Its Yellow Cab App to Cost Riders the Meter Plus a 20 Percent Tip

Black hole. (Photo: Wikimedia)

Yesterday, we broke the news that Uber, the San Francisco-based request-a-ride service, was close to launching an app in New York City to let you digitally hail and pay for a yellow cab with your smartphone. The launch was planned for today, but hit a road block in discussions with the Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC)–prompting CEO Travis Kalanick to offer free taxi rides for New Yorkers for a week while they sorted it out.

This morning, we spoke to Mr. Kalanick, as well as Uber NYC’s general manager Josh Mohrer by phone. Both offered more detail regarding what Uber’s taxi app might cost riders and drivers, why the launch was delayed (cough Verifone cough), and why they rushed into the market (hint: it concerns a different kind of British invasion).  Read More