UBER-style carpooling is set to launch in traditional yellow New York City cabs, seeing traditional taxis take on on-demand firms for the first time.
Tech transit companies Curb and Via have joint forces in the US to roll out carpooling for cabs – the first time such technology has been explored and the infrastructure built for traditional taxi firms. It’s expected that pooling journeys will allow discounts of up to 40% the metered fee.
Via is famous for a flat-fee shared service in a hybrid bus-UBER model that runs across New York, Washington and Chicago. The business will lend their expertise in sharing to Curb, who run an app to hail taxis and pay them. Curb were bought by Verifone in 2015, who own about 60% of the meters, taxi-TVs and card readers in New York’s taxi fleet.
Via will combine their routing technology – which, similar to UBERs, calculates routes to maximise efficiency for shared travel – with Curb’s app.
Riders will receive a discounted rate if matched to a car share match, leaving both Via and Curb to pick up the payment cut. If the system can’t match a rider with a match, they’ll have to pay the full metered rate. No more than two separate parties can join the carpool, and each can book up to two seats.
This approach is revolutionary for traditional taxi drivers, who have around the world protested the lack of regulation around UBER’s services that they claim render them a non-competitive option for travellers. The introduction of shared journeys offer a much more economic option without taxis having to fall back too much onto venture capital funding (which is how UBER cushions the blow of cut fares).
Verifone Global Head of Product and Marketing, Jason Gross, said: “We’re not trying to help any one segment in any kind of way. I’m pretty agnostic but I think it will be great to help [yellow cabs] make money.”
Do you prefer taxis or UBERs – and is this more likely to help you take a taxi? Let us know in the comments below!
Author Lex Barber