Mobile Commerce

New Startup Gives NYC Taxis Lifeline Against Uber

The New York taxi industry just got a ride-hailing weapon to use against Uber.

A new startup called Arro is using Uber-like tech against the San Francisco-based company to offer New York taxi patrons the same type of experience they get out of using Uber’s app. While the Arro app is still being tested in beta mode (with 7,000 cabs), it is slated to launch in just a few weeks. That launch will enable it to be linked up with 20,000 yellow and green NYC taxis.

“We thought that there was a void in the taxi industry, certainly in New York and in other big cities,” Mike Epley, director of product management at Arro, told Crain’s New York Business. “We see the demand, both on the driver side and on the passenger side. And we want to fill that.”

Of course, Arro isn’t the the first to attempt to take on Uber, but Epley said that its partnerships with Creative Mobile Technologies and the massive taxi fleet should give it an edge in the market. Because the taxis will get data directly from the ride-hailer, it’s designed to make the process more seamless.

“Our solution is integrated with the taxi, whereas Uber’s is not,” he remarked.

In general — as the Uber/NYC taxi battle wages on — the Uber payment system has inevitably created a market shift in the taxi industry, but there are other factors. One major one is the “turmoil in the medallion market,” as Uber has undercut that system by evading the medallion system.

In January Uber was ordered by an administrative court to suspend operations in five of its six New York City dispatch bases after Uber failed to provide data requested by the New York Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC). But that didn’t stop its operations from continuing. New York City is the largest market where Uber operates.

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