New York Taxis Try To Compete With Mobile Apps

by Raymond Pucci 0

Mobile apps concept in flat design style.

Hey Taxi! While hailing a New York City cab will not become a lost art, the city’s taxi industry is taking a major step to adopt mobile technology advanced by Lyft and Uber. As the following article relates, Verifone’s Curb and Via are partnering to expand cab rider options in the city.

New Yorkers are about to get even more friendly!* Today, Via and Curb are bringing ride-sharing through a digital wallet to yellow taxis in the Big Apple.

Both apps will let New Yorkers hail a yellow taxi with a ride-sharing option, with Via’s intelligent routing platform ensuring that the driver takes the most efficient route possible on multi-passenger rides. The service can save users up to 40 percent on taxi rides, and the move this morning should catch the attention of Uber and Lyft with their competing UberPool and Lyft Line products.

Verifone has been working with yellow taxis for years to provide technology like credit card terminals, digital meters, driver tablets, and passenger tablets. In August 2013, the company launched Way2Ride, letting smartphone users hail a taxi with their phone for the first time, pay for those rides with their smartphones, and effectively taking on Uber.

In October 2013, Verifone bought Curb (an existing ride-hailing app) and sunsetted Way2Ride while transferring users over to the Curb app.

For the last year, Curb has allowed to pay for the taxis they’re in after hailing with their hand, simply by downloading the app and punching in the code on the backseat screen of the taxi. The app also lets users hail cabs with their phone.

Verifone powers two-thirds of NYC’s approximately 15,000 cabs, and Curb to date has “a couple million accounts set up” and powers “several hundred thousand trips a month” according to Jason Gross, global head of product and marketing for taxis at Verifone. Gross added that NYC’s Curb is used for payments more often than all the other mobile wallets combined.

Meanwhile, Via has been around since September 2013, differentiating itself in the market by focusing primarily on multi-passenger rides and making them more efficient. Via works by looking at all drivers and all passengers to route the fastest, least cumbersome multi-passenger rides.

Verifone is a key player in bringing 21st century payment methods to the taxi industry via in-cab POS terminals. Add in their Curb acquisition, plus Via’s ride sharing, and New York’s taxis can finally try to compete with disrupters Lyft and Uber. Big Apple residents and visitors alike will be trying the new taxi ride system with much anticipation. Whether it’s enough for New York’s, or other cities’ taxis, to recover from their downward spiral remains to be seen.

Overview by Raymond Pucci, Associate Director, Research Services at Mercator Advisory Group

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