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The taxi apps transforming the way New Yorkers get around
The old method of hailing taxis may be going the way of the horse-and-buggy.
Start-ups like Uber, Lyft and others are introducing app-hailed car services that are upending the traditional model of waving down a yellow taxi from the street.
And it seems that the taxi industry could get even more competition now that regulators are signaling that new services can operate as long as they abide by the rules of the Taxi and Limousine Commission. Those rules include drug tests for drivers, criminal background checks, insurance and more.
amNewYork took a look at some of the new apps and how they work. Some of the apps only work with yellow (or green) cabs, while others specialize in livery or black cars. Some services even offer luxury cars and SUVs.
How it works: Hail a car from a community of licensed drivers.
Standout features: Drivers greet riders with a "friendly fist bump."
Rates: Lyft charges a base rate, plus time and distance, as well as a “Trust and Safety Fee.”(Credit: Lyft)
How it works: Hailo, which is being evaluated by the city during a one-year pilot program, claims to hail a yellow cab ride “in two taps.” Besides its taxi service, the company also offers Hailo+ for hailing licensed cars and sedans. HailoBlack, for black cars and SUVs, is coming soon.
Standout feature: Riders can automate payments; Foursquare integration.
Rates: HailoTaxi is priced the same as yellow cabs. Hailo+ is also priced the same as cabs for a limited time.(Credit: Hailo)
How it works: Taxi Magic, which is being evaluated by the city during a one-year pilot program, allows riders to hail yellow cabs using a smartphone, via text message or online.
Standout features: Live route-tracking, fare estimates and “taxi flag” which turns an iPhone into a beacon flashing the cab’s number (perfect for when you’re standing in a crowd.
Rates: Not immediately available.(Credit: Taxi Magic)
How it works: Bandwagon allows you to request a seat in a shared car in your area.
Standout feature: Guaranteed per-seat price.
Rates: Not immediately available.(Credit: Bandwagon)
How it works: The Whisk app hails livery cabs licensed by the TLC.
Standout features: Whisk’s Ride Pass allows for “unlimited rides.”
Rates: The company claims that its rates are within “10-15% of the fare of a taxi.” The minimum fare is $8.00. The Ride Pass is based on riding habits.(Credit: Whisk)
How it works: Uber says it offers “on-demand transportation” by allowing riders to request a pick-up as needed via smartphone. Users in New York City who click on the app are presented with three options: UberX, the most affordable option; UberBlack, a high-end sedan service; and UberSUV, for luxury SUVs.
Standout features: The company claims “inherent safety features” such as background screening of drivers that goes back seven years.
Rates: Prices range based on service level. The company recently made headlines by announcing that it was pricing its UberX service lwoer than a taxi through August.(Credit: Getty/David Ramos)
Cab With Me
How it works: Cab With Me, which launched Aug. 3, was created to help people split the cost of a cab ride by matching them up with others nearby.
Standout features: Free!
Rates: Standard cab fare