Need a cab? There's now - officially - an app for that.
Today New York City's Taxi and Limousine Commission voted to officially allow riders to hail taxis using applications on their smartphones, according to the Wall Street Journal. Until today, use of the applications was banned for the city's thousands of yellow cabs.
The TLC voted today to allow a one-year trial of taxi-hailing applications. Seven members voted "yes," while two abstained from the vote.
TLC Commissioner David Yassky commissioner has said that as long as the technology exists, it should be available to customers and drivers.
But the measure was steeped in controversy among the city's cabbies. Those who drive livery cars, or black cabs, which are typically pre-booked, largely felt that this new technology would cut into their business. Yellow cabs are usually hailed with a wave of the hand on the street - so if these apps allow customers to "pre-arrange" a yellow cab with their phones, will it oust the city's livery car drivers?
"Our most important job is giving the passenger the best service possible and giving the passengers as many options to get service as are feasible," Yassky told Capital New York in October.
Though livery drivers and the city's some 13,000 yellow cabbies are divided on the issue, the vote is a boon for owners of cab-hailing apps such as Lyft, Hailo and Uber, which could now potentially become far more attractive to advertisers, as they will likely be seen on more smartphones across New York.
Another winner? New Yorkers - who now join other cities where these apps are already heavily used.