City To Push All 146 Houston Taxi Companies Onto Single Smartphone App

CITY TO PUSH ALL 146 HOUSTON TAXI COMPANIES ONTO SINGLE SMARTPHONE APP Uber HQ in Houston, 5714 Star Lane, Houston, 77057On Wednesday city council approved a plan to require that all licensed Houston cab drivers start taking hails via the same smartphone app, Rebecca Elliott reportsArro, which rolled out in New York last year and several other major cities since, will tack a $1.50 fee onto the normal cab fare for riders (with a 50 cent-plus-3-percent fee for drivers), and will centralize taxi dispatch across the city. (Limo drivers can get in on the action too, if they want to.) The plan comes in response to not-technically-a-cab-company Uber’s recent threats to pull out of Houston over requirements for fingerprinted background checks for its drivers; Elliott writes that the city wants to have the system up and running by the end of the month.  [Houston Chronicle; previously on SwamplotPhoto of Houston Uber HQ, 5714 Star Ln.: Uber Houston

14 Comment

  • So let’s see about this. It costs MORE if you use the taxi app? Why on earth would someone choose this route?

  • Still doesn’t address the main reasons that so many of us prefer Uber; no price surprises, no “short cuts” that take longer and costs more, no rude drivers, no filthy cars, no cash needed, instant receipts and records for business travel, and they acutally show up within minutes, every time.

    I could go on. Yellow Cab and the rest have am inferior product and inferior service; and no amount of lobbying City Hall to protect them is going to change that. They should try competing and providing a product that can compete with Uber instead, but that would require real work, and competence.

  • Come on all ya’ll anti-gubment, regulation is killing free enterprise and infringing on my personal rights to make a choice to get into a car with a total stranger, people of Houston ( the city of free enterprise, regulations to protect health and safety be dammed). Let’s storm the Bastille (aka City Hall) and make those establishment politicians bend their knees to the will of the People. After all they are only doing this at the behest of those dastardly corrupt taxi company lobbyist who are trying to fleece us of more money so they can laugh as they go by in their chauffeur driven limo…..

  • I’m all in for this, particularly if it’s going to cost me even more to give turn by turn directions to a cab driver who barely speaks English, all the while in cab with no AC. Good move by the city.

  • Wow! Houston carves out yet another guaranteed monopoly for what should be a competitive market. Just wondering what opportunity there is for corruption / malfeasance in the app’s distribution of rides to the current 186 cab competitors. Will it be fair? Can it be unduly influenced?

    How did this app get selected? What was the bidding process? Which app companies competed for this cushy monopoly position? And what relationship is there between those app company winners and their principals, and the City council members and others who promoted this decision?

    It looks opaque, anti-competitive and rife with potential for abuse, with innocent Houston citizens required to pick up the bill at a cost of $1.50 per ride. What is that, as a percent of the average cab ride? 1%? 5%? Wooo Boy, I am just happy to get this opportunity to enrich another government sponsored monopoly.

  • Statists just cannot let go, can they? Graft and corruption are baked into this deal.

  • what a load of horse shit

  • In my experience, taxis are already more expensive than Uber – adding $1.50 to each trip will not help their [lost] cause.

  • It looks to me like the city is preparing for uber to pull out of Houston.

  • Someone may as well make their own local ride-sharing app/company, one that just does whatever background checks the city wants.

  • Why oh why does the government have to take over every aspect of our lives? Uber drivers have been nothing but wonderful in my 100+ interactions with them. Our government officials, on the other hand…

  • I haven’t taken a cab in our fair city for over 20 years – and that ride didn’t impress me with the driver’s local knowledge. But, I’m supportive of a more “free market” option as Uber. I don’t think the $1.50 surcharge for the monopolistic taxi rides is the way to go or the added bureaucracy.

  • The question remains, “do we need fingerprinted background checks for Uber drivers”. If so, and knowing that Uber will pull out of Houston with the implementation of the background checks, though this app is flawed – no imbedded payment process, uncertain whether the app has GPS locating ability, additional usage fees – at least it is a step in the direction of improving taxi service.

  • This plan couldn’t be more wrong on so many levels. It begs of total incompetence or corruption or a little of both.