The days of having to carry around cash in order to take cabs are so long gone. Now, in addition to taxi’s ubiquitous credit card machines, the Taxi & Limousine Commission is soliciting proposals for an app that will allow people to pay for their ride on their smartphone. It’s just the next step in the inevitable progression to being beamed to our destination through our iPhone. In all seriousness, though, according to a notice from the TLC a payment app will serve functions beyond simply the exchange of funds. An app can allow riders to get emailed receipts that could help them find property that might have gotten lost or file a “compliment/complaint.” (There already is an app just for complaints.)
Through an newly conceived app riders could also possibly allow riders to “accumulate ‘points’ or ‘rewards’ through a frequent riders program, among other benefits.” From the notice:
While fare payment is the primary focus, the TLC is also interested in other functions such as locating lost property, alerting passengers to available taxis, allowing passengers to find other passengers for ridesharing, and providing customer service to passengers. The app would be developed and implemented at no cost to the City, and would be free of charge to passengers. However, there is potential for financial returns for the developer through the collection of credit card processing fees and advertising.
We reached out to the TLC to find out why they decided to put out the call for submissions.
“Smartphones are poised to become a payment method of choice for many people over the next few years and we want to keep NYC taxis in the forefront of consumer-friendly technology,” TLC Commissioner David Yassky said in a statement provided to Runnin’ Scared.
Meanwhile, earlier this month a pilot program was approved that would replace at least 30 cab’s Taxi TVs with iPads. In this program, drivers would process credit-card payments via iPhone.
One day, the entire world will become an Apple Store.