One of New York’s largest providers of taxi cab tech is teaming with a startup to take on Uber. Queens-based Creative Mobile Technologies, which provides the ubiquitous credit card readers and Taxi TV monitors to half of New York’s cabs, has inked a partnership with Arro to hail yellow and green cabs via smartphone. Arro’s app will not charge the $2 fee that Uber currently tacks on when customers hail a taxi–and will be devoid of Uber’s surge pricing.
“We thought that there was a void in the taxi industry, certainly in New York and in other big cities,” Mike Epley, Arro’s director of product management, told Crain’s New York. “We see the demand, both on the driver side and on the passenger side. And we want to fill that.”
New York’s politically powerful taxicab and limousine sector, which consists of drivers, car service operators, medallion investors, and other stakeholders, has been in a high-profile conflict with Uber; mayor Bill de Blasio, who has traditionally enjoyed close ties to taxi industry figures, has been caught in the middle. Arro will give customers more options, and developers claim it is faster, cheaper, and more reliable than Uber’s taxi-hailing feature. But will customers switch?
Arro is entering a market that opened up relatively late; New York’s byzantine taxi regulation prevented large-scale market penetration beyond Uber’s taxi product. But in other cities, competing apps have already cropped up. Flywheel offers a similar product in San Francisco and several other West Coast cities, while Los Angeles is implementing a mandatory app requirement for taxis later in 2015.
The big challenge will be convincing customers to give Arro a shot: Uber has fast become an ubiquitous part of urban life for a specific slice of the population. To gain market share from an omnipresent rival, Arro and its peers must prove to fickle customers that their apps are a viable alternative to Uber’s slick, customer-friendly product.
[via The Verge]