UberTaxi NYC iPhone App, Now a Shadow of its Former Self
Previously, with UberTaxi NYC, those in need of a taxi could call for one using the app. The taxi drivers, who were provided with iPhones by the app developers, would use a driver version of the app to find and pick up those fares. After the ride, the driver would enter the fare into the driver app, which would deduct money for the trip and tip from the passenger’s credit card on file. UberTaxi NYC was even offering a free ride up to $25 this week.
Unfortunately, as things look now, that’s all about to go up in smoke. The app’s fare processing aspect has been shut down by the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission, and the taxi-calling part might be axed as well, which would essentially kill the app off completely.
Currently, New York City has contracts with Creative Mobile Technologies and Verifone that guarantee exclusivity for credit card transactions (those card-swiping machines in the backseat). Using the app for payment processing violates those contracts, and so the city killed off the payment part of the app.
The taxi-calling part of the app is also in trouble, since it could be used to violate regulations that state that taxi drivers cannot have pre-arranged fares, use electronic devices, or turn down fares. The first is obvious – the second refers to using the iPhone while in the driver’s seat, while the third likely refers to the fares that drivers would essentially be turning down when they pass up earnest hand-wavers while traveling to pick up the pre-arranged fare made through the app.
So, the status of this promising app is now in limbo. You can still use UberTaxi NYC to call for a taxi for now, but it’s hard to say for how long you’ll be able to do so. You can check out the Uber blog for more information about the status of the NYC app, and to check out other cities where Uber provides services.
Update 5/1/2013: UberTaxi has returned to NYC