New Yorkers should be on the lookout for vintage Checker Marathon yellow cabs, which will be driving around to promote a forthcoming e-hailing smartphone app from YellowCabNYC.com.
YellowCabNYC, an online community founded in 2007 by New York City yellow cab drivers, is currently developing its own taxi e-hailing app to compete with companies like Uber and Square. It’s good timing—on Tuesday, a New York judge dismissed a lawsuit brought by several car service companies in an effort to shut down New York City’s year-long e-hail program enabling smartphone users to hail a cab electronically.
The 70s-era yellow cab “will soon be prowling the streets of the Big Apple,” according to YellowCabNYC.com’s Mark Jakubczak. “Pedestrians who are quick on the draw with their smartphone or digital camera can snap a picture of the vintage cab, tag the picture online and be entered in a drawing for $10 in taxi credit.”
Winners will be able to use that credit on the upcoming smartphone app, which YellowCabNYC.com is billing as “the first one designed specifically with the Big Apple in mind.”
The site’s e-hailing app will be free to cab drivers and offered at “a lower price point” than competitive apps, added Jakubczak, who is helping to develop the YellowCabNYC.com app.
“We’ve set out to develop a no-nonsense e-hailing app that’s not only the most cost-effective, but which is the only one specifically tailored to the needs of New Yorkers. Other e-hailing apps might ‘hail’ from urban locales such as San Francisco and even London, but the scale and dimension of the challenges New York City presents are utterly unique,” Jakubczak said.
“With our built-in network of drivers and fleet operators, we anticipate rapid circulation and acceptance of what should prove an indispensable tool, both for drivers who will download the app because it’s free, and for the riding public who will download the app because it’s both useful and efficient,” he said.
Meanwhile, Judge Carol Huff of New York’s Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that the bulk of the petitioners in a lawsuit seeking to shut down New York’s e-hailing program had a clear conflict of interest in bringing the suit against New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and others.
Judge Huff dismissed several of the claims made by the petitioners, including claims that the e-hail program compromised driver safety and would result in discriminatory pick-up practices by drivers contracted by users of the system.
The New York Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) approved the e-hail system last December, greenlighting it as a pilot program for 12 months. The program lets smartphone users within the central business district of Manhattan south of 59th e-hail medallion taxis within a half mile. Users outside of that area can e-hail yellow cabs within 1.5 miles.
The commission also voted to allow for enhanced technology inside of cabs, which “will allow additional tech providers an opportunity to enter the market after the existing exclusive contracts expire” on Feb. 15, a TLC spokesman said when the pilot program was approved.