Council Member Ben Kallos Calls for Innovation and Competition in TLC E-Hail Rules

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

January 29, 2015

 

CONTACT

Sarah Anders, 212-860-1950,

SAndersatBenKallos [dot] com

Council Member Ben Kallos Calls for Innovation and Competition in TLC E-Hail Rules

New York, NY– Council Member Ben Kallos, author of the “Universal E-Hail App” bill today testified before the Taxi & Limousine Commission (TLC) to call for innovation and open competition in the TLC’s e-hail rules (the video will be availableonline and testimony is attached). The TLC is considering new rules for a permanent e-hail marketplace. As proposed, the rules expand the ability of cabs to accept e-hails and make it safer for them to do so, but do not include an Open Application Processing Interface (API) or a NYC TLC E-Hail App.

Kallos argued this morning that both the Open API that would allow all approved third-party apps to seek e-hails and the City app were a necessary part of the package that would allow the City to modernize and compete in the new landscape. Similar proposals for city cabs have been advanced in Los Angeles, D.C. and Chicago.

“New Yorkers should be able to easily catch a cab in the rain through e-hail without having to worry about surge pricing,” said Council Member Ben Kallos, a software developer who used his expertise to propose a Universal E-Hail App bill. “Our City is taking the right approach by integrating technology to keep our city modern—but we should be at the cutting edge. The new e-hail rules must include an open API to promote fair and easy e-hails, and a City App so our yellow and green cabs can continue to compete and exist.”

The Universal E-Hail App, mandated by legislation that Council Member Kallos has sponsored, has benefits for all stakeholders:

  • 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 Universal E-Hail App is also an optimal way 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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