For the last few years, ride-hailing apps like Uber and Lyft have taken off and completely disrupted the taxi industry.
As we reported last month, the Chicago cab and taxi drivers union released data. It showed that there has been a 40 percent decline in taxi revenue over the last three years, and during the month of March, 42 percent of taxis were not in circulation in the Windy City.
Other large metropolitan areas are probably still working out what the best routes are for their taxis to go, Washington, D.C., has taken the lead with its latest announcement. In a surprising move, it has shared that it will be the first major city to fully transition all of its taxi services to digital meters with the installation of payment solution Square.
Effective Aug. 31, 2017, Washington will have a digital payment option for all of its taxi-riding citizens. Through this new payment option, people will also have the ability to receive fare estimates and electronic receipts as well as GPS route tracking and the ability to tip drivers by credit card.
Depending upon the results after a year of use, it is likely that other major metropolitan areas move into the direction of implementing their own digital payment options for ride hailers looking to get around their cities. As we see other ride-hailing services like Boston-based Fasten enter the arena, this move by Washington is a clear way to defend against the sharing economy and hopefully uphold the traditional taxi service industry.