NYC Yellow Taxi Cabs Now Offer Group Riding
New York City taxi yellow cabs now offer passengers a ride sharing option, opening the possibility for reduced fares in the city's most recognizable transport option. Launching today, the ride-sharing program comes through a partnership between taxi-hailing app Curb and carpool route-mapping service Via. Curb uses parent company Verifone's taxi technology — installed in about 65% of the city's fleet — to link drivers to passengers, while Via's mapping algorithm finds passengers traveling similar routes.
Riders can save as much as 40% off their normal fare when carpooling, and automatically shave $.095 off Curb's $1.95 booking fee when they choose the "Share" option. If no other passengers hop on for the ride the original passenger pays their fare in full.
"We are always looking for ways to improve taxis and make them more competitive through technology," said Jason Gross, head of product and marketing for Verifone's taxi services. "As with our recent launch of wheelchair accessibility, shared rides are about providing more options, in this case at lower cost, to the riding public."
Group riding will initially be available between 32nd street and 110th street in Manhattan with city-wide expansions coming soon. The company also plans on launching taxi group riding in other cities in the coming months.
Ride-sharing is already available across the city through Uber and Lyft and other platforms. But while those services are known to charge surge-pricing, Curb doesn't. Curb also only works with licensed taxi drivers, while Uber and Lyft contract private drivers.
New York's Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC), which oversees the yellow cab fleet, is looking forward to the new service.
“The TLC has always strongly championed group riding in taxis and for-hire cars," said TLC commissioner and chair Meera Joshi. "This is an area where we believe the private sector can excel in ways that have eluded our own best efforts, and we are pleased to see this new option available to the riding public.”
The program could be a boon for the taxi drivers as well. Gross explained that group riding cuts driver downtime, resulting in more fares and thus higher earnings.