Uber and Lyft are building small empires, muscling their way into the territory once dominated by the taxi industry. Now local regulators are perking up with the realization that this whole hailing-a-ride-from-your-phone thing probably isn’t going away. The New York Times reports that Chicago just approved a plan to create an app that makes it possible to hail taxis from a smartphone. On Monday, a similar app was proposed in New York City, although that bill is still awaiting a vote. Per the report:
In Chicago, the plan to create such apps is part of the so-called Taxi Driver Fairness Reforms package, a plan backed by a taxi union and City Council members that would update regulations around taxi cab lease rates and violations like traffic tickets, among others. The city is expected to solicit third-party application developers to build the official app or set of apps. The City Council gave no further details on its selection criteria, nor did it give information on how the initiative would be financed.
Why Chicago would solicit developers to build brand-new e-hailing apps strikes me as strange, especially since taxi-calling apps like Flywheel and Hailo already exist.
[h/t: New York Times]