Taxi-Hailing Apps Get Green Light in NYC
CREDIT: Jeremy Hsu/TechMediaNetwork
New Yorkers and visitors weary of holding out their arms to taxis whizzing by can finally rejoice — New York City has approved a temporary trial for smartphone apps that could conveniently hail taxis.
The one-year trial allows "e-hail" apps such as Uber, Hailo, and GetTax to begin offering their services to smartphone owners, according to Skift. Survey results had shown that 55 percent of taxi passengers want the ability to e-hail taxicabs and pay fares by smartphone.
E-hail app users would get the ability to hail empty cabs within a half-mile radius below 59th street, or hail cabs within a mile and a half radius everywhere else in the city. Any cab drivers who had voluntarily signed on for the app service would have the ability to accept proposed trips with a single touch.
A vote on the morning of Dec. 13 by the New York City Taxi & Limousine Commission (TLC) came down to seven commissioners in favor and two abstentions.
But approval of the e-hail proposal came only after fierce debate among cab drivers, taxi fleet owners, livery and black car services and smartphone app developers, according to the Wall Street Journal. Livery and black car owners in particular feared the e-hail apps would cut into their prearranged rides business.
To help settle the controversy, TLC agreed to make the e-hail apps a pilot program that ends in a year.
This isn't the only change for New York City's swarms of taxis. TLC has also pushed ahead with plans to roll out New York City's "Taxi of Tomorrow" starting next year.