Ride or Die
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.
Ride or Die
In a packed boardroom across from City Hall last week, members of the New York City Council’s Committee on Transportation met to discuss the Taxi and Limousine Commission’s plans for a smartphone app that will allow riders to digitally hail and pay for yellow cabs, with just a few taps of their phone. The TLC shared the results of a survey–conducted through backseat screen, naturally–which found that almost 70 percent of passengers owned a smartphone and that 50 to 60 percent of respondents want an app that lets them find and pay for taxis.
The testy standing-room-only crowd didn’t shy away from cheering (when Councilman Vincent Ignizio accused the TLC of secret plans to destroy the livery cab industry via e-hailing apps) and jeering (Councilwoman Darlene Mealy, who represents Bed-Stuy and Brownsville, pointedly rolled her eyes when a TLC rep implied it’s not that hard to find a cab to the outer-boroughs.)
The notion of radically altering as iconic a New York moment as flagging down a yellow cab was met with wariness and derision from council members. It’s hard enough trying to explain the off-duty sign to tourists or parents visiting from out-of-town–imagine if you had to instruct them on how to navigate an app. “What happens if you are a senior citizen or a disabled person and you do not have access to the apps or you don’t know how to work with them?” asked committee chair James Vacca. “Somebody with an app will be able to hail a cab and you’ll be standing in the street longer than you normally would.”
Ride or Die
A source has informed Betabeat that Uber–the pricey, San Francisco-based request-a-ride app for black cars–plans on an imminent launch for a similar service for yellow cabs in New York City. Uber already lets riders in New York City order and pay for private sedans and SUVs from their smartphone, but this new launch would Read More
It’s 3 a.m. and you’re on a dark, deserted Manhattan street with no yellow cabs to be seen. Instead of limping on high heels to a busy avenue, drunk with fatigue (or just drunk), you can now hail a cab electronically using ZabKab.
The new app was unveiled today at the August Restaurant in Lower Manhattan, and enables consumers to hail a yellow cab using GPS technology.
At the click of a button, passengers appear on a map as an icon. The apps is free for passengers, while drivers can expect to pay between $9.95 and $14.95 per month.