A new app lets users order a licensed NYC taxi and get a binding, upfront fare quote, estimated time of arrival, and pay through the app, just as you would when booking a ride with Uber, Lyft, Gett or other app-based ride services.
The new app is from a tech startup based right here in NYC, so the algorithm is local, not from Silicon Valley, and it’s for both yellow and green taxis.
The app, Waave, is being rolled out for NYC taxis just as the City Council put a one-year cap on additional new for-hire vehicles.
That rule went into effect in mid-August, in an effort to control the addition of more than 12,000 for-hire vehicles since 2015, and their effect on increasing traffic, especially in midtown, and halt the downward slide in pay for drivers of both licensed taxis and more than 80,000 for-hire vehicles all competing for passengers.
Waave users also will pay through the app, and the money will go straight into the taxi driver’s account.
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The company, less than two years old, is the first to take advantage of a pilot program that the Taxi and Limousine Commission launched in the spring to provide price transparency for yellow and green cabs and make them more competitive with ride-hail operators.
According to Waave, being able to compare prices should work in taxis’ favor, even when there’s no surge pricing.
“This is the first time you can just open the app and open every other app and you can compare prices,” Waave founder and CEO Daniel Iger told Crain’s.
The Waave app is being launched first for yellow taxis in Manhattan, expanding to all five boroughs and to green cabs in the coming months.
Iger, an automotive engineer and a former senior manager at BMW Group, originally had been working on an app that would give an estimate of the taxi-meter fare. He switched gears when the TLC announced its pilot program.
There already are two NYC taxi apps, and both will be rolling out upfront pricing features soon to better compete with Waave and with so-called black-car app-based services.
Curb is run by the company that provides the payment-service technology to about half of all yellow cabs. Arro is a ride-hailing app for the other half of yellow cabs.