Instead of approving the Taxi apps that've been popping up for the past several months for New York City in ernest, the NYC Taxi and Limousine Commission has approved a temporary "pilot program" for the ecosystem. This follows a rather hotly contested possible vote to have the apps approved alongside a collection of rules that would have limited the services in a variety of ways. Now with NYC Taxi and Limousine Commission commissioner David Yassky speaking after the pilot program was approved, it's been made clear that this whole arrangement needs some time to be tested before full action.
Yassky made it clear that some "ground rules" would have to be met in order for the app-to-Taxi connection would be made on a grand scale. Instead of shutting down the collection of apps attempting to join the official ranks of yellow Taxi cabs across the city cold, Yassky sided with the idea that the technology should trump any concerns businesses had (and have) with their existence. The main opposition to the connection between apps and yellow Taxis has been from limousines and other call-to-pick-up car services who argue that their service was the only thing keeping the two groups of vehicles apart.
With Taxis able to be called with an app, there'd be an intrusion on the specific business offered by the pre-arranged ride market. Yassky has dismissed this, saying that drivers and customers should be able to use this technology because it offers an easier way to connect a cab to a person - and that's the end goal. Meanwhile Yassky also says there must be rules in place to accommodate the everyday average arm-raising cab-hailer too.
The pilot program - whose rules will be laid out for the public sooner than later - will go into effect on February 15th. Wait patiently until then and start up with the downloads to see when you can get in on the action! At this very moment, the program appears to be covering "a cab within a half-mile range from locations south of 59th street in Manhattan" according to NY Daily News, this distance expanding 1.5 miles anywhere else in the city.
"We should not ignore technology that's out there. This is not speculative. This is real technology. We can look to other cities and see customers using these products and benefiting from them." - Yassky
[via Washington Post]