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New York Based Taxi Technology Platform Announces New Senior Advisor, Justin Erlich, Ahead of Expansion in to US Taxi Market
[December 17, 2021]

New York Based Taxi Technology Platform Announces New Senior Advisor, Justin Erlich, Ahead of Expansion in to US Taxi Market

NEW YORK, Dec. 17, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Wapanda, a taxi medallion-focused transportation platform based in New York City, today announces an expansion to their current team. Wapanda is currently working with Bradley Tusk and Tusk to encourage the cities of New York and Chicago to ensure that existing taxi markets are not upended by Autonomous Vehicle (AV) technology as they were by the proliferation of app-based for-hire-vehicle operators such as Uber and Lyft.

This week, Zahid Biviji and Mihir Dange are excited to announce a new talent to the Wapanda team. "We are thrilled to announce the addition of Justin Erlich, who brings with him decades of expertise and experience in strategies to advance emerging technologies and public policy, especially in the autonomous space."

Justin Erlich currently serves as the Global Head of Issue Policy & Partnerships for TikTok. Previously, he worked in the mobility industry, most recently as Head of Strategy, Policy & Legal at Voyage, an autonomous vehicle company subsequently acquired by Cruise; and prior to that at Uber as Global Head of Advanced Technologies, including autonomous vehicles, freight and urban aviation. From 2015 to 2017, he served as a Special Assistant Attorney General at the California Department of Justice leading the technology portfolio for Attorney General Kamala D. Harris. Justin also spent five years as a strategy consultant at McKinsey & Co. as a part of the Sustainability prctice with a focus on cities. He received his JD from NYU School of Law and his Bachelor's degree from Harvard.

Said Bradley Tusk, "For years now, I have believed that the traditional medallion backed system will fail without a clear path forward towards innovation -- the next frontier of which is clearly autonomous vehicles. That's why I'm excited to be working with Wapanda on helping medallion owners and taxi drivers access the technology and resources they need to bring their taxis into the future, so they can be part of the next wave of technological evolution and not fall prey to it. For cities like New York, Chicago and Miami, I'm excited to be working with the Wapanda team, and now including Justin, on municipally-based solutions to bring AV's to the forefront of the taxi industry."

Just recently, new legislation put forth in the NYC Council would preemptively regulate autonomous vehicles (AV) in the City of New York by limiting the technology's use to taxis licensed to operate under the City's medallion system. Per the bill's sponsor, The call to action to enact the legislation, Int. 2432, comes after the City passed a new rule opening the door for AVs to operate on the City's streets earlier this year.

Wapanda is a mission-driven transportation infrastructure platform whose ultimate goal is to work with the City and drivers to lift medallion owners and taxi workers out of their financial distress. Co-founders, Zahid Biviji and Mihir Dange believe the best way to do this is by creating new opportunities for these workers to compete in the 21st century for-hire vehicle market.

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