Yo! Finally, Smartphone Apps That Call a Taxi
Residents and visitors can now hail a yellow taxi in the Big Apple using a smartphone app, and they'll soon be able to pay for a cab with their phone.
The e-hailing cab service Hailo begins its one-year trial in the New York area today, Ashwini Chhabra, deputy commissioner of policy and programs for the New York Taxi & Limousine Commission (TLC), said at the TechCrunch conference Wednesday.
Hailo users will still have to pay their fare via card or cash, but soon they'll have a smartphone alternative to that, as well.
"In 60 days you will be able to hail and pay from your smartphone," said Hailo CEO Jay Bregman. "That is historic."
(Read More: Taxi Apps: Changing the World While New York Waits)
The state already permits e-hailing for livery cars, but until recently, TLC regulations prohibited the same service for yellow taxis.
(Read More: App Lets Users Hail Taxi from Smartphone)
The rules were changed last year to allow the service for yellow cabs for a trial period, but those changes were challenged in court by a group mostly composed of livery car owners. Their suit was dismissed last week by State Supreme Court Judge Carol Huff, allowing the trial of e-hailing apps to begin.
Uber, another e-hailing app, launched its yellow taxi pilot Tuesday night.
With Hailo, people download the app, enter some basic information and their credit card details. A user who wants a taxi opens the app and taps its interface, and a pick-up signal goes out to cabs in the vicinity.
Hailo operates in 11 cities and has raised more than $50 million from investors, including Union Square Ventures, Accel Partners, Wellington Partners, Atomico Ventures and Sir Richard Branson.