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New App Allows NYC Riders To Hail A Taxi With Their Smartphone

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Need a taxi? Guess what? There's an app for that!

New technology promises to make hailing a cab a whole lot easier, especially at night and in the outer boroughs.

Hi-tech companies are now trying to cut-down on waiting time. On Wednesday, a new app launched called "ZabKab." It allows you to send out a GPS signal to yellow cab driver, letting them know you need a ride.

WCBS 880's John Metaxas On The Story


"It's always when you need a cab most you can't get one," a cab rider told CBS 2's Cindy Hsu on Wednesday.

Martin Heikel, a software developer for Flatiron Apps, said that by using GPS technology on smartphones will allow you to get a cab with one push of a button.

"Nothing else to do, just press that 'Hail' button, you will pulsate, indicating a signal's being sent to all cabs within about a four- or five-block area," he told WCBS 880 reporter John Metaxas.

Your location would appear to the cab drivers on their screens.

Taxi App
A taxi driver tries out the ZabKab app in Greenwich Village - Aug 8, 2012 (credit: John Metaxas / WCBS 880)

So far, out of more than 13,000 yellow taxis on the road, 1,000 drivers have signed-up for the app and say they're excited. Driver Shareef Hussein said he was one of the first to download the driver version of the app, which he would have to pay a separate fee to use.

"It's going to help us like when you go outer borough, it's going to be very helpful to us because you know sometime we're going to have to come back empty," he said.

Another cab driver is already using the app and said he likes it so far.

"Now you know the location for the clients who need a cab. Why not go to pick them up if you drive by?" cabbie Roland Sainristil told Hsu.

The success or failure of this technology depends on whether enough New Yorkers are willing to change yet another one of their routines in the digital era.

"That's kinda cool," one New Yorker told Metaxas. "Then you don't have to wait. I like it."

The free passenger app is first being rolled out for New Yorkers, but if enough people sign up Flatiron Apps, the company behind it, might expand it to other cities. It is currently available in both the Android Marketplace and the iPhone App Store.

Jay Bregman launched a similar app called "Hail-O" in London last year and said it has cut down the waiting time for cabs to minutes.

"Tap a button and within 2 minutes they will virtually hail a London black cab which will come and pick them up and we're going to do the exact same thing if not bigger in New York by the end of the year," Bregman said.

As far as cost, ZabKab is free for passengers and about $15 dollars a month for cab drivers. Hail-O has more features and there will be a fee for both passengers and drivers when it launches later this year.


Would you use the app? Sound off in the comments section below.

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