NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Carpooling is coming to New York City taxi cabs.
As CBS2’s Hazel Sahcnez reported, business for yellow cabbies has been challenging since discounted ride share services provided by Via, Uber, and Lyft hit the streets.
Now, taxis are getting back in the game by joining a new carpooling service.
The ride-sharing app Via and the taxi-hail app Curb are teaming up to bring shared rides to yellow taxis.
For a little less elbow room, ride sharers will benefit with a reduction in the booking fee and a 40 percent discount on the fare, WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond reported.
Cab drivers and riders alike are on board with the idea.
“We don’t have no business. We should make at least 20 stops, today is about five or six,” said cabbie Louis Sparando.
Jackie Myer, of the Upper East Side, said she takes taxis every so often and wouldn’t mind sharing a cab with a stranger.
“Especially a good looking one,” she joked.
Taxi driver Rezaul Karim is hoping to benefit by transporting multiple customers at one time.
“Extra money you know. I can make extra money,” he said.
Taxis on the Curb app are now able to pick up multiple passengers in Manhattan south of 110th Street. The service is expected to expand to other boroughs.
“Making cabs more accessible, easier to use, and hopefully even discounted pricing. I think we’re going to bring a lot of business back to yellow cabs,” Amos Tamam, Veriphone/Curb said.
For now, only 500 taxis are involved in the Via/Curb shared ride service. The curb app presents the shared option immediately when you request a ride. On Via it only presents a shared taxi option if a sharable taxi is nearby.
The discount is only given to passengers for the shared portion of a taxi ride. Nobody joined CBS2’s Sanchez and her cameraman so they were charged the full fare which cost more than regular Via service.
“If it doesn’t work we may have to work with the TLC and say is there something we can do n the pricing side to encourage people to use it,” Via CEO Daniel Ramot said.
The Taxi and Limousine Commission supports the new service and said it could help taxis become more competitive and help the current value of taxi medallions.
“We’ll see how it all shakes out. The word is first starting to get out now. I think we’re optimistic about it catching on with people,” TLC spokesperson Allan Fromberg said.
Since the service is just a few days old it may take some time before anyone benefits.
Shared rides are already offered by ride-hailing apps like Uber and Lyft.