It is now about to get easier to hail a cab in New York City thanks to a new pilot program being launched with the approval of the Taxi and Limousine Commission. Instead of just standing on the street trying to flag down one of the city’s 13,000+ cabs, riders will be able to hail them from their smartphones as of February 15th.
The new cabbie apps will use your phone’s GPS to find you, or you can enter and address; then you tell it “ping” nearby cabbies. A driver in the area will get the request to come pick up According to the TLC, the majority of the apps permit live GPS tracking of the driver, as well as automatic payments (in addition to cash).
“It’s the TLC’s job to represent passengers, and when new technology comes along, we want to make sure it’s available to them,” remarked Taxi & Limousine Commissioner David Yassky. “New York City is known for embracing innovation, and we have certainly done that now.”
While similar programs have been used for some time abroad, as well in other US cities this is the first time the cabbie apps will come to the Big Apple.
Four apps expected to go into effect next month are. The first, Get Taxi, and Israeli-based cab-hailing app already in use in London and Moscow, as well as a handful of Israeli cities, and is compatible with iPhone, Android and Blackberry. Estimated time of arrival and distance show up in real time and passengers can also use it to rate drivers.
TaxiMagic is one of the oldest apps and now boasts 25,000 cars in 51 American cities including Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago in its network. In fact, its sister app SedanMagic , which like third app, Uber, actually already serves New York. Both TaxiMagic and Uber can be accessed from iPhone, Android, Web app and SMS. Users will be able to pre-schedule rides as well as get live GPS taxi tracking. Unconfirmed prices will be in the range of $1.50-$2.50 per hail.
Lastly, Hailo, which is actually one of the largest international cab-hailing apps will add New York to its network after making “enormous tire tracks” in London, Tokyo, Toronto and other major locations. Riders with iPhones and Androids will be able to hail cabs for about $1.50 a pop. After hailing the cab, they will be able to watch the taxi’s progress throughout the city in real time.