Mashable NYC Needs a Taxi App to Take On Uber, Councilman Says by Ashley Codianni and Phil Nolan
A New York City councilman is trying to save the city's taxi industry with an app for yellow cabs that would compete with Uber.
City Council member Ben Kallos admits that traditional taxis "have been successfully disrupted by Uber and other car services." So he's introducing legislation to create a Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) app "to level playing field so people can compete."
While there is no set plan for developing the app, Kallos, who has worked as a software developer and lawyer, said the city and the TLC had to move into the world of Uber and Lyft. "I think it's incredibly agile for the taxi industry to want to adapt to the challenge of startups,” he said.
There's also no name set in place for the new app ("maybe Hail NYC," Kallos ventured). The app would also work for the city's green cabs in outer boroughs.
Uber burst onto the scene in New York more than one year ago, and the company is quickly gaining favor with riders and drivers alike. (Lyft launched in New York City last month, after several setbacks.) Taxi drivers and medallion owners in New York City are having a hard time keeping up; as seen in the video above, taxi drivers say they are losing dependable customer pools to Uber and its app, which hails the nearest driver — no wave-down required.
Uber says its rides are cheaper and faster for customers, and that its drivers earn more money. Medallion owners, however, chide Uber for tactics like surge pricing during the busiest transit times. (Uber recently said it would limit surge pricing during emergencies in New York.)
Kallos, meanwhile, said he worries about the proliferation of Uber and its competitors. "I think my nightmare would be hopping into a yellow cab in the future where they’ve got a phone for Uber a phone for Lyft a phone for Hailo ... and they’ve literally got a dashboard covered in phones because they want to make sure they’re signed up for every single e-hail app," he said. "My preference would people to have one phone, one interface."