Chicago’s ‘Universal’ E-hail Taxi App Falls Short for Drivers and Riders

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Chicago’s ‘Universal’ E-hail Taxi App Falls Short for Drivers and Riders

Chicago’s efforts to provide a universal e-hail taxi app should be applauded; however, the article below points out a major problem with the city’s solution. Rather than developing its own single, universal app, Chicago is instructing riders and drivers to use one of two existing third party apps. By promoting dual apps, the city’s pool of available taxis is halved (divided amongst the two apps), meaning riders won’t be able to access the nearest taxi, rather only those using that particular app, and drivers will have access to half the rider pool. Splitting up the city’s taxis on two “competing technologies” fails to achieve the goals of a single, universal app, which would enable access to the nearest and most convenient taxi, and will not deliver the benefits this type of solution is intended to offer.

RideLeads offers a packaged mobility and connected traveler platform to cities so that they can offer a true universal e-hail app. This solution creates one pool of all available taxis (and other vehicles) and means faster pickup times for riders and more access to riders for drivers.

Cabbies Honked Off About City Choosing 2 ‘Universal’ Taxi Apps
By Ted Cox, DNAinfo
January 12, 2016
https://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/20160112/downtown/cabbies-honked-off-about-city-choosing-2-universal-taxi-apps

 

CITY HALL — Cabbies are raising objections over the city’s selection of two “universal” taxi ride-hailing apps.

David Kreisman, spokesman for Cab Drivers United, said Thursday the union local is “disappointed that instead of deciding on a ‘universal’ app that would allow passengers to hail any cab as promised, the city has endorsed dual, competing technologies.”

City officials announced Wednesday that after a six-month search for a taxi app allowing cabbies to compete with upstart firms like Uber, Lyft and Sidecar, it had selected Arro and Verifone’s Curb as the authorized services. The city’s 12,700 cabbies will have to connect with one or the other by Feb. 1.

“By endorsing dual apps, the city is creating unnecessary barriers between passengers and the professional transportation service cab drivers provide,” Kreisman added.

And while both Verifone and Arro submitted initial statements saying they were thrilled to be selected, they aren’t exactly enthusiastic about the competition either.

“Yes, of course we would have preferred to be the universal taxi app!” Verifone spokesman Jason Gross said. “Ultimately, it will be up to the taxi riders to decide what works best for them, and that may mean that the two apps will continue to provide Chicagoans with options for paying and hailing cabs.”

Verifone’s Curb claims to be in Chicago cars already, and it will merge with its Way2ride system to expand to other cities, while Arro has already established itself in New York City.

The good news for riders, though, is that both have agreed not to institute surge pricing, keeping taxi rates steady, while the upstart competitors let theirs fluctuate with momentary supply and demand.

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