Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

New York’s Taxi E-Hail Finally Gets the Green Light

The strangely troubled efforts of New York taxicabs to get simple modern technology are finally progressing.

hailo_appThe appellate division of the New York County Supreme Court ruled today that the city’s e-hail pilot can proceed, after it had been stalled in court by litigation and a preliminary injunction driven by black-car and livery drivers.

However, while people in New York will now be able to hail cabs from their smartphones, they won’t yet be able to use apps to pay for their rides. That’s the next hurdle, though it could be resolved within a matter of weeks.

Today’s ruling “unconditionally reinstates the pilot project, with no chance of any further court action on the part of the litigants until at least late fall of this year,” said TLC spokesman Allan Fromberg.

E-hail companies like Hailo, Uber and Taxi Magic were quick to offer joyous statements on the news. “The magic of e-hailing is here and open to all New Yorkers and Yellow Cab drivers,” said Hailo CEO Jay Bregman, who has already been operating a “beta” program in anticipation of e-hailing being cleared.

As for e-payments, New York taxis are roughly split in half using Verifone and CMT payment systems. Those providers need to fully integrate with the e-hailers, then be tested, and then approved by the TLC. “It’s a matter of weeks,” said Taxi Magic president Sanders Partee.

Also, to be clear, since other outlets have reported this differently, the New York decisions don’t appear to have anything to do with peer-to-peer ride services like Lyft and SideCar.

What might have caused some confusion is that also today, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg won a separate appeal to bring street hailing for livery cars (basically, the inverse of e-hail for taxis) to the New York boroughs. This was a pet cause for Bloomberg, who trumpeted it in a public statement.

Here’s the e-hail ruling from today:


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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald