New York CIty Council Member Ben Kallos

City E-Hail App Proposed to Compete With Uber, Lyft

December 8, 2014
  CONTACT: Sarah Anders

(212)860-1950 (o)
(617) 279-3964 (c)
City E-Hail App Proposed to Compete With Uber, Lyft
Proposal for e-hail of Yellow or Green Cabs from NYC App or Any 3rd Party App
New York, NY –  City Council Member Ben Kallos today introduced a bill to create a free Universal E-Hail App to allow New Yorkers to e-hail any of the 13,637 yellow cabs and 6,000 green cabs that participate. The Universal E-Hail App would be contracted or created by the Taxi & Limousine Commission (TLC). It would not alter existing apps and would also allow for any third party app like Uber or Lyft to e-hail yellow and green cabs.
“City taxis need an app of their own to compete, and New Yorkers need to be able to get a cab in the rain without having to worry about surge pricing.” said City Council Member Ben Kallos, a software developer who used his expertise to propose the app called for in the legislation. “New York City must support our tech sector: Instead of making new technologies illegal, or regulating them out of business, we should provide a level playing field with fair competition so that companies, drivers and riders all win.”
New York City is not the first to advance such an idea: Washington D.C. and Chicago have both also proposed that city cabs be equipped to pick up e-hails. Yellow and green cab drivers would use one single interface for both the TLC hail app and existing 3rd party apps, providing an easy, centralized system for picking up e-hails.
“I want to live in a city where I can e-hail a yellow or green cab and get where I need to be in a New York minute,” concluded Council Member Kallos.
The legislation would provide the following features for riders, drivers, TLC, and third party apps:
  • Riders would get the ability to e-hail as many of the 19,637, yellow and green cabs that choose to participate, using either a free NYC branded app or any participating app they already use like Uber with the guarantee of a metered fare.
  • Yellow Cabs and Green Cab Drivers would be able to pick up e-hails from any app through an upgrade to their current Taxicab Passenger Enhancement Program (TPEP) and Livery Passenger Enhancement Program (LPEP) equipment. Green cabs would still be restricted to only picking up ehails north of East 96th St. and West 110th St. inside Manhattan as well as in the other four boroughs.
  • TLC would receive all ride and payment information already received and reported from the TPEP/LPEP system in order to provide a safe ride and analyze the data.
  • Third Party Applications such as Uber that might participate would have to display all available yellow or green cabs, provide a metered fare, and would be restricted from influencing a rider to use a non-medallion vehicle.
 The legislation is designed to promote:
  • Competition - allowing medallion owners to compete fairly in the e-hail marketplace.
  • Vision Zero – safer driving with fewer distractions from current situation of multiple phones and hail apps running simultaneously.
  • Consumer Protection - Standard metered fare rates for cab rides would remain without “surge pricing.”
  • Passenger Safety - Safe yellow and green taxis overseen by the TLC would be available conveniently.
  • Availability – As many as 13,637 yellow cabs and 6,000 green cabs would be able to participate, making them available through the all apps. It would be easier to e-hail one on any app of choice.
  • Revenue - More revenue would be generated for the city.
  • Environment – Fewer miles would need to be driven in order to find a fare, lowering fuel consumption and carbon impact between rides.
  • Accessibility - Disabled passengers would be able to find accessible vehicles through e-hail, a feature currently unavailable from existing e-hail apps.

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