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Taxi commission to expand e-hail app program

Taxi cabs line up a New York City

Taxi cabs line up a New York City street. (Oct. 22, 2007) Photo Credit: Getty Images

The Taxi and Limousine Commission will expand its pilot program for apps that let passengers hail a yellow cab from a smartphone.

TLC chief Meera Joshi told a City Council committee Wednesday that the agency will start a licensing system for "e-hail" apps, which have let passengers and drivers "peek around corners to connect with one another."

The pilot, which launched with Uber, Hailo and three other companies, saw 600,000 e-hail requests. One important requirement for these apps, according to Joshi, was that they must minimize driver distraction with a one-touch system.

"You don't want an application that requires lots of touching in order for you to accept a ride," she said.

Joshi said data form the e-hail pilot showed the apps were popular where yellow taxis are scarce -- 66% of yellow taxis ehailed were from outside the Manhattan central business district, while that was the case for 6% of all yellow cab rides in the city.

The draft e-hail rules will be published before the end of the year.

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