Having trouble hailing a cab? There’s an app for that. There are quite a few apps for that, actually. Taxi Magic, GetTaxi, Hailo, and now Uber are all hoping to cash in on connecting would-be riders with cabs. Uber has been around for a while, offering (pretty expensive), prepaid-by-smartphone rides in slick black sedans and SUVs. Just in time for the fare hike, the yellow taxi app would allow riders to use the app to virtually “hail” a cab—taxis drivers in the area would receive alerts on their smartphones that someone needed a ride, and have 15 seconds to respond. The rider can also pay via smartphone. How 2012.
Unfortunately, it may not be legal. The Taxi and Limousine Commission has rules against A) pre-arranging rides, B) the use by cabbies of electronic devices of any kind, and C) the unjustified refusal of fares (in agreeing to pick up the guy using the app, the driver is effectively refusing to pick anyone else up during that 15 seconds). Uber is still in talks with the TLC. But! In the meantime, the company is picking up the tab for all New Yorkers who use the app between 8:00 AM today, September 5th, and 11:59 PM Tuesday, September 11th. So if you use Uber to hail a cab in the next week your ride is free, up to $25.00. I guess I know how I’m getting home tonight. (Photo: Pascal Subtil/Flickr)