In New York, Uber signs peace with taxis, which will be integrated into its platform


Yellow taxis during a protest in New York on February 10, 2021 (AFP/ANGELA WEISS)

Uber will integrate all New York taxis into its platform, a turning point in its relationship with the famous yellow vehicles, after years of tension, and an illustration of the group’s growth strategy.

The giant passenger vehicles with driver (VTC) will welcome on its application the already existing New York taxi reservation software, which was until now competitors of Uber, a spokesperson told AFP, confirming information from the Wall Street Journal.

New York taxis could, in fact, already be ordered by dedicated applications, CMT, Arro and Curb.

The fares for a taxi ride booked through the platform will be roughly the same as those charged for the basic Uber X formula, the group told the financial daily.

Uber users will know, before booking, that a trip is offered to them with a taxi, and will know the price in advance, unlike a classic trip whose bill depends on the meter.

Applications dedicated to taxis already offered to know the price in advance.

Taxi drivers will also see the price of the race in advance and will have the choice to accept or refuse it.

Their remuneration will respect the legal minimum introduced by the city of New York for passenger vehicles with drivers (VTC) since 2018, said Uber.

New Yorkers will still be able to hail a taxi in the streets, yellow vehicles (and green for those operating outside Manhattan) remaining the only ones authorized for marauding, that is to say driving without a customer on board.

– Growth strategy –

“Any proposal to connect passengers more easily with taxis excites us,” reacted, in a statement sent to AFP, Ryan Wanttaja, head of the taxi regulatory authority in New York, the Taxi and Limousine Commission ( TLC).

“We look forward to learning more about this agreement between Uber and taxi apps, and to make sure that it complies with the rules of the TLC”, he nevertheless added, a sign that the regulator had not not been consulted beforehand on this agreement.

The arrival of Uber in New York in 2011 transformed the transport industry, as in many other cities around the world, and put pressure on yellow taxis, which had hitherto benefited from a quasi- monopoly.

The city has since seen the number of taxis remain almost unchanged, around 14,000, but that of VTCs explode, to the point that the municipality had to freeze, in 2018, the granting of licenses, the number of which had exceeded 120,000.

The coronavirus pandemic and the fall in traffic subsequently particularly penalized New York taxis, already in difficulty.

Unlike VTC drivers, taxi drivers have most often bought their license at a very high price, sometimes several hundreds of thousands of dollars, many taking out large loans to do so.

“We are excited to partner with software vendors CMT and Curb, which will benefit taxi drivers and all New Yorkers,” Uber vice president Andrew Macdonald said in a statement. reaction sent to AFP.

To foster its growth, Uber is looking to increase the size of its platform and the services it offers, from taxis to food delivery, via Uber Eats.

The San Francisco giant had already integrated taxis in several countries, notably in Germany, Turkey and Spain.

During the presentation of the group’s quarterly results last November, the general manager, Dara Khosrowshahi, explained that Uber was trying to attract the maximum number of taxis, with four or two wheels, to the platform.

“For the next five years, we firmly believe that there is no world in which taxis and Uber exist separately,” Uber said. “Each party simply has too much to gain. Taxis allow us to unlock new markets. It’s our flagship product in Hong Kong or Turkey.”

© 2022 AFP

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