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New Uber rival? Lawmaker proposes NYC-run mobile app for taxis

A taxi in New York City.

A taxi in New York City. Photo Credit: Getty Images/Spencer Platt

The latest challenge to car services like Uber came out of City Hall Monday when an Upper East Side council member introduced a bill to create a free city mobile app for yellow and green taxis.

The bill, introduced by Council Member Ben Kallos, would create a universal E-Hail App for the more than 13,000 yellow cabs and 6,000 green cabs throughout the city, he said in a statement.

"City taxis need an app of their own to compete, and New Yorkers should be able to e-hail a cab in the rain without having to worry about surge pricing," Kallos said, adding that the "city must modernize to be able to compete."

The app would have to be contracted or created by the Taxi and Limousine Commission.

Separate from the proposed app, the TLC has been working on its own e-hail pilot program.

"We've had a very successful e-hail pilot program with a number of qualified participants, which has been serving passengers well," TLC Spokesman Allan Fromberg said in a statement.

While the app would allow both Uber and Lyft taxi services to e-hail city taxis, it would restrict them from influencing a rider to use a non-medallion cab, Kallos said.

Uber is the only active e-hail partner for yellow and greens cabs, a company spokeswoman said. Those rides are charged the metered fare, and not subject to dynamic pricing, she said.

A representatives from Lyft did not immediately respond to a request for comment.


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