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November 05, 2012

New York Set to Impose New Rules for Taxi Apps

By Oliver VanDervoort, Contributing Writer

While most people are willing to agree that mobile applications are only making our lives a little easier, a rather large controversy has sprung up in the city of New York. Taxi apps have actually been at the center of this particular controversy for quite a while now. City government has been claiming that these apps actually break the law while posing security risks. The controversy has gotten to the point where one startup company had to actually shut down its New York City offices.

The New York Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) is getting set to release a new set of rules that will actually allow these startup companies to operate in NYC. In exchange for allowing these companies to come back into the city, they will have to follow some rather strict protocol including linking up to the city’s own payment and trip-data systems. In addition, these startups will have to get a one year license through the TLC that they will renew annually.

Image via Shutterstock

Another rule lays out that these new companies will have to accept payments through credit cards and cash and they will have to have their fares set up through the city’s Taxicab Passenger Enhancement Project (TPEP). This means that the companies will not be able to set their own fares, thereby undercutting the taxis that were existed in the city before the startups came along with their new apps. 

The final proposed rule would make the tips up to the actual rider. One taxi app startup company, Uber had previously attached a 20 percent gratuity fee to the taxis it operated in San Francisco. That fee will be illegal in New York if and when the new rules take effect.

The commission is set to officially vote on imposing these new rules at a meeting on December 13. If the rules are put into place, it will be up to the individual taxi app companies as to whether these rules will continue to keep them out of the city.

Edited by Brooke Neuman
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