The battle between yellow cabs and Uber cars is about heat up.
According to Crains New York, a new app called Arro is being beta tested among 7,000 yellow and green taxis in the NYC area, allowing potential passengers to e-hail a regular cab instead of an Uber. The app should roll out fully in a couple of weeks and spread to all 20,000 green and yellow taxis in the city.
The Arro app is nearly identical to Uber, letting a user set a specific location for pick-up and sending that user’s name and location to the driver. Once a nearby cab is assigned the fare, the user will receive the name of the driver and the car ID so they can find the right taxi.
But there’s one big difference between Arro and Uber: no surge pricing.
Whereas Uber’s app charges a higher rate at times of high demand, such as New Years Eve or pretty much any time that it’s raining, Arro integration with yellow and green taxis will do nothing of the sort.
Plenty of apps have tried and failed to mimic what Uber does on the taxi side, but Arro told Crains it has a better chance due to a partnership with Creative Mobile Technologies, the technology provider that handles payments and entertainment on those little video screens in many of the cabs you see in NYC.
That same technology is also present in the front of the cab, which will allow drivers to pick up Arro fares without integrating a dashboard smartphone, the way Uber drivers do.
Uber and the TLC have been in a long war, with Mayor Bill de Blasio recently trying to limit the number of new Uber drivers allowed on the road in New York. Long story short, that plan didn’t go over so well.
But the introduction of Arro could spell (at least some) competition for Uber, which has grown to be valued at over $50 billion since inception in 2010.