All’s fare . . .
A tech company released a new app Thursday that will do for yellow taxis what Uber does for black cars — connecting riders with drivers and setting a price ahead of time.
Waave uses algorithms that analyze demand, supply and traffic to set a price for a ride before it starts. The rider can pay using a credit card on file, just like with Uber and Lyft, and never have to interact with the driver.
A Taxi and Limousine Commission rule passed in March allows cabbies to use the apps to pick up “flex” fares. Before, they could only use the meter prices set by the TLC and were not allowed to set a price with passengers ahead of time. TLC officials called the development “very exciting.”
“Knowing how much a trip will cost before you begin your trip has been popular with passengers in the for-hire vehicle sector,” said TLC Commissioner Meera Joshi.
“The TLC’s flexible-fare pilot brings this convenience to yellow-taxi riders — providing up-front price certainty to the riding public when they are deciding what service to pick for their travels.”
Waave launched the app on Thursday so that potential riders and drivers can sign up. They plan to offer rides in about a week, when they get enough users, said company CEO Daniel Iger, who said he thinks the app will be a game changer. “Uber and Lyft are so popular because riders know they can lock in the price and whatever happens, they pay their $15,” said Iger. “With this change of TLC rules, it is a completely new thing and taxis will be able to compete with the other apps.”
Waave will keep a small fee from the driver for each trip, said Iger, who declined to say how much the fee will be.
Another company, Myle Technologies, will launch a similar app later this year.
Cabbie Petros Lemonidis has been driving for 20 years and suffered about a 30 percent loss in income since the ride-share apps came on the scene in 2011. He signed up for Waave on the first day and said he’s hoping it can help him recoup some of the money he’s lost. “This app is something that we have been waiting for,” said Lemonidis, 42. “I believe it will bring passengers back to yellow taxis.”
Curb and Arro, two apps that have been around for a few years, only connect taxis with riders but do not set a price for the trip ahead of time. Neither app ever got much traction with riders.
Cabbies can still accept street hails and use the meter if they choose to.
Iger declined to say how many drivers and riders have signed up for the service so far.
This story originally appeared in the New York Post.