Ride or Die

Cab Fight! New York City Vendor Sued for Breach of Taxi Technology Agreement

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With all the excitement over last week’s decision to test out taxi apps in New York City, another technological step forward got overlooked. During a meeting at its Beaver Street headquarters last Thursday, the Taxi and Limousine Commission also unanimously voted in favor of new rules for those credit card swipers and “entertainment systems” (scare quotes necessary) in back of your cab, referred to as T-PEP. Read More

Ride or Die

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

Ride or Die

TLC Testimony Foreshadows October Ruling on Smartphone Apps for Yellow Taxis

Smartphone and the City

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.” Read More

Ride or Die

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

Metro Tech

As Square’s Plan to Put iPads in Cabs Get Approved, It Turns Out Verifone Was Already Testing Tablets

via dailydooh.com

It seems like every other tech story these days is about the old guard banding together to protect the status quo. So it’s a relief to hear that  New York City’s Taxi and Limousine Commission agreed yesterday to test out Square’s proposal to replace Taxi TV with its own iPad mobile payments system, despite objections from Verifone and Creative Mobile Technologies–the duopoly that currently controls what technology gets placement in your yellow cab’s partition.

As the Wall Street Journal reports, Square will mount a “ruggedized” iPad on the divider of the cabs. Using Square’s payment system, riders can swipe a credit card and decide whether to receive a receipt by paper, email, or text. Oh yeah, and a chance to look at a map on an iPad’s sleeker touchscreen. Read More

Metro Tech

Square’s Old School Competitors Really Don’t Want To See iPads and Apps Instead of Taxi TV

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Last week, we told you about an innovative proposal from Square, the mobile payments company run by dashing parallel entrepreneur Jack Dorsey, who is simultaneously employed as the executive chairman of Twitter. Rather than squawking Taxi TVs, which allow consumers to pay by credit card, but force cabdrivers to absorb costly processing fees, Square proposed testing out iPads with apps–and its own cheaper mobile payments system, of course.

Currently, fleets can withhold 5 percent of fares paid by credit card from drivers after a shift to cover the 3.5 percent processing fee and a 1.5 percent bookkepping costs. David S. Yassky, the chairman of the Taxi and Limousine Commission, made no bones about his goal in testing it out: to push down the price of credit card transactions.

Existing vendors Creative Mobile Technologies and Verifone, who maintain a duopoly among yellow cabs, already made a fuss when the idea was raised earlier this year, but now, the Wall Street Journal reports, they’ve muscled their way into the TLC’s pilot program. CMT, Verifone, and Square will all get a chance to test out ways to transform 30 yellow cabs a piece. Read More

Metro Tech

Coming Soon to a Taxi Near You: Square Wants to Replace Taxi TVs with iPads and Apps

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What if instead of a squawking box, capable only of blaring at you from the partition, Taxi TVs looked more like your smartphone and came stocked with apps like Foursquare? Square, the mobile payment company headed by Jack Dorsey, is trying again with a daring proposal for the Taxi and Limousine Commission: a pilot program that would replace Taxi TVs in 50 cabs with iPads or other tablets.

TLC chairman David Yassky said the tablets would also enable the commission to test out Square’s mobile payment technology “and swipe a credit card at any point in the trip,” reports the New York Times. It should come as no surprise to Brooklyn-dwellers who’ve to had to promise to pay cash in order to get back from Manhattan, but the current credit card system, controlled by Verifone and Creative Mobile Technologies, is hard on cabdrivers, who have to eat the fee for the transaction. With Square, there’s a chance to push down the price of transactions. Read More