Move over Uber. There’s a new e-hail app in town. Arro lets you e-hail and e-pay for a metered ride NYC yellow taxi or green taxi with no surge pricing. Its developers say it is faster and cheaper than Uber because you pay regulated taxi meter prices, not Uber’s floating, surge-pricing prices. With the new Arro e-hail app, you pay the price on the meter. Period. No surprises.
Here’s how Arro also is different from Uber, besides the color of the e-hail cars:
Arro was developed here in NYC specifically for NYC taxis and NYC traffic. It is not a company created in Silicon Valley and supported by bllions of dollars of venture capital and hedge fund money and an algorithm for NYC.
Uber, which is based in San Francisco, is now worth $50 Billion, which is more than a NYC taxi driver, or even an Uber contract driver, can dream of earning in a lifetime.
Arro has been developed partnership with Long Island City-based Creative Mobile Technologies, which controls the payment systems and video screens in about half of the city’s 13,000-plus yellow taxis. Arro users e-hail cabs through messages sent directly to drivers through CMT’s data terminals in the front of cabs.
By comparison, Uber drivers, have to read e-hails on their smartphones mounted on their dashboards. And don’t get me started on the safety of texting – or reading texts – while driving.
Simply, Arro e-hail app is integrated into the NYC taxi system. The Uber system is not.
But just like Uber, and other car services not named Uber, when you use the Arro taxi e-hail app, a nearby cab driver is sent the passenger’s name, the pickup address and cross streets, and you are sent the driver’s name and ID number so you can identify the car.
And just like other e-hail apps, including Uber, users save their credit card information in the app, so you can pay the metered fare—plus tip—automatically.
You can also avoid Uber surge pricing with Gett, an e-hail app that offers $10 flat fee rides in Manhattan below 110th Street, and 24/7 live customer service.
The Arro taxi app is being launched now in 7,000 yellow and green NYC taxis, and will expand soon to all 20,000 yellow and green taxis in New York City.
According to Crain’s New York Business, Arro is negotiating with VeriFone Systems, a San Jose, Calif.-based firm that operates payment systems for the other half of the city’s yellow and green cab fleet, in the hopes of becoming a universal e-hail app for all licenced NYC taxicabs.
Here’s the rest of the Crain’s story in today’s issue on the new Arro taxi e-hail app:
CMT and VeriFone have their own payment smartphone apps: The former has RideLinQ, while the latter has Way2Ride. But neither have come close to Uber’s popularity with riders.
Taxi industry insiders have long complained that the antiquated rules of the city’s Taxi and Limousine Commission have suppressed the market for new e-hail apps. The TLC legalized e-hailing in June 2013 and approved rules for yellow-cab apps, as long as they work within the agency’s regulations and systems for taxis. A spokesman said that Arro is a participant in the agency’s e-hail pilot program and has submitted an application for a license.
Thanks to Uber, the yellow taxi industry is in the throes of an existential crisis. The value of individual medallions has dropped to about $700,000 and perhaps less from its peak of $1.3 million in 2013. The city has declined to auction off a new batch of medallions this year, as insiders watch to see if the market stabilizes. Meanwhile, Uber continues to poach drivers from fleet owners and smaller car-service companies, leaving up to half of taxi garages’ vehicles idle at times.
But while Uber dominates the market, regulators are looking for ways to rein in its explosive growth. Over the summer, Mayor Bill de Blasio sparred with Uber, proposing a cap on the number of new vehicles the service could add to its fleet. After several weeks of public-opinion warfare, the mayor backed off his plan, opting instead to study for four months the effects of for-hire vehicles’ growth on the industry and traffic congestion.