Los Angeles to require taxis to use Uber-style mobile apps


  • TECH
  • Friday, 16 Jan 2015

UBER-ISING TAXIS: Los Angeles taxis will now use an Uber-type app to compete.

LOS ANGELES: Taxi drivers in Los Angeles will be required to use an Uber-style app allowing riders to hail cabs from mobile phones, city officials decided, in a move to help licensed taxis compete against ride-sharing services.

The so-called e-hail app requirement is the latest response to the shockwaves sent through the taxi industry by the growing popularity of ride-sharing services like Uber, Lyft and Sidecar that often have cheaper fares and more efficient customer service.

“It’s probably not going to be a panacea but it’s going to improve things,” said Los Angeles Board of Taxicab Commissioners President Eric Spiegelman. “At the very least, it’s a gigantic first step.”

Los Angeles cab companies, which operate 2,300 licensed taxis, reported a 21% drop in rides last year and complain that they are bound by regulations on issues such as safety and fare structure that do not apply to ride-share companies.

A taxi app could be particularly popular in Los Angeles, where it can be difficult to hail a cab from the street. Except at Los Angeles International Airport or major hotels, riders usually must call a dispatcher and often face long waits.

In a vote, the five-member Board of Taxicab Commissioners opted to begin an app program on Aug. 20 and could impose immediate fines of US$200 (RM710) a day on drivers who do not use an e-hail app.

But some details remain to be worked out, including whether to include flexible fares instead of current fixed rates, whether to build a new app or use an existing one, and whether to use one or multiple apps for different companies. Certain fare structure changes would also require Los Angeles City Council approval.

Cab company representatives voiced no opposition to the app concept at the board meeting, but asked to be included in a working group that will make recommendations on app features.

“We’re not against it,” said Jano Baghdanian, general manager of MTS Management Inc, which operates several cab services in Los Angeles. “It’s just the practical question of how does that make it a change, how does that make it a level playing field?”

While popular for its ease of use, Uber has faced scrutiny in the United States and other countries because of concerns over passenger safety. The district attorneys of San Francisco and Los Angeles said last month they had filed a lawsuit against Uber for misleading customers about its background checks on drivers. — Reuters
Article type: metered
User Type: anonymous web
User Status:
Campaign ID: 1
Cxense type: free
User access status: 3
   

Next In Tech News

Facebook oversight board extends timeline to decide on Trump ban
GM, LG Energy Solution to build 2nd U.S. battery plant in Tennessee
Digital divide hampers Stockholm vaccinations as elderly struggle to book
Russia's Yandex to launch e-grocery delivery in Paris then London
Stellantis supplier seeks court order to compel chip supply for Jeep plant
How the Kremlin provides a safe harbour for ransomware
Antitrust regulator SAMR is now the sheriff of China’s Big Tech after Alibaba fine, analysts say
Tesla, ex-engineer settle lawsuit over Autopilot source code
Pentagon team reveals Covid-19-detecting chip that can be implanted in the body
UK's Ocado invests in Oxbotica to develop autonomous deliveries

Stories You'll Enjoy


Vouchers