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TLC Approves Plan To Allow ‘Virtual Hails’ From Smartphones

FILE - A taxi is viewed on September 4, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

FILE – A taxi is viewed on September 4, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Need to hail a cab in New York City? There could soon be an app for that.

The Taxi and Limousine Commission has approved a proposal to allow virtual hails which lets riders reserve cabs right from their smartphones.

1010 WINS’ Juliet Papa reports

There are already dozens of apps on the market, including Hail-O. Like most apps, Hail-O works using a simple tap-and-hail method. Riders tap to find a nearby taxi. Drivers are equipped with the technology too and when they see a request, they accept, turn off the light and head toward the customer.

WCBS 880′s Paul Murnane On The Story

Credit card info is also pre-loaded to make the transaction quicker.

“They do everything else on their phone, so why not that too,” said Audrey Skrocki from Carteret, New Jersey.

For drivers, it could mean less time spent empty and drumming up fares, but more time glancing at their cell phones.

Cell phones are currently off-limits for drivers, but the proposal includes a provision granting them permission to accept fares via their smartphones.

Longtime driver Aboubaida Abdulla has mixed feelings about the new technology.

“I might get a lot of business but at the same time some people might hold the phone to look at the phone so as to get that business would make traffic late,” he said.

TLC Commissioner David Yassky said steps will be taken to make people will still be able to hail a cab the old-fashioned way, but as long as the technology exists, it should be made available.

The proposal is for a one year trial.

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