A temporary pilot program to call taxi cabs from your phone has been approved by the New York City TLC (Taxi & Limousine Commission). The program will allow the many mobile taxi applications being created to be tested in real time. TLC Commissioner, David Yassky, believes that they “should not ignore technology” but see how other cities are “using these products and benefiting from them.”
Opposition to the mobile apps program has been primarily from the limousines and other call-to-pick-up car services. They are upset that this application allows the yellow taxi cabs to encroach on their territory. However, earlier this year TLC Chapter 54 was finalized, which allowed “for-hire” drivers to pick up passengers off the street anywhere outside Manhattan and the Airports.
The difference between a yellow cab driver and a for-hire drive is significant. To get a livery cab license, all you need to do is file an application, have a clean driving record, and pay a fee to upgrade your class at the DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles). The medallion licenses are much more difficult to achieve. On top of the livery requirements, a yellow cab driver must finish hours of course credit and pass a TLC exam.
The pilot taxi app program will go into effect on February 15th. The rules and guidelines for the program should be up before that. Check with the NYC TLC website if you’re interested in reading more about it.