David Yassky, chairman of the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission, issued a statement yesterday saying that cabs in the city could not use the app Uber (download for iPhone or Android) to collect fares. He said the San Francisco startup's app would violate the city's contracts for accepting credit card fare payments with two other companies — Creative Mobile Technologies and Verifone.
Uber allows riders to find the closest participating cab and to pay them by credit card. Not only can you use the mobile app when on the go, but you can also use Uber to contact a taxi by web and text message. The company gave New Yorkers free rides up to $25 this week to test out the service in the major metropolis. The startup's CEO Travis Kalanick said Uber was still considering its options following Yassky's statement. There is a possibility that the company will continue to offer its services in connecting riders and taxi drivers in New York, but not processing payments. Even that part of the Uber experience could be in jeopardy, though, since the city has rules preventing cabs from accepting pre-arranged rides, using electronic devices, and refusing fares.
Taxi drivers had favorable things to say about the system after it launched in New York and the company does have a strong fan base. We'll just have to grab some popcorn and watch the legal battle unfold.
[Image credit: Tomas Fano]
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