Uber puts taxis in New York City on its app after years of rivalry

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Uber, hit by a driver shortage and a spate of food delivery requests amid the pandemic, will list New York City taxis on its app, a partnership that would have been unimaginable until recently with both sides fighting ferociously for the same customers.

After a period of lengthening the wait for an Uber ride due to a driver shortage, the partnership will increase the number of available rides and give NYC taxi drivers access to a huge pool of commuters with an Uber app on their phones.

There was evidence that tensions between Uber and taxi services began to thaw as Uber aggressively expanded into the highly lucrative food delivery business and required a growing supply of delivery drivers.

During the pandemic, Uber’s food deliveries were faster than the rides given to people as millions of people sheltered their homes. Gross bookings for delivery services at Uber reached $13.4 billion (approximately Rs. 102036,846 crore) in the last quarter of 2021. That’s compared to $11.3 billion (about Rs. 86045,997 crore) in gross bookings for Uber rides.

The agreement announced Thursday comes amid more cities moving to regulate the explosive growth of Uber and other app-based ride-hailing services, including New York City, which imposed a temporary cap on new licenses for ride-hailing services in 2018.

New York City is the largest US market for Uber. The New York City Workers Alliance, a group that represents taxi drivers and has been critical of Uber and other taxi transportation apps, said it would push for negotiations.

“After its business model has shown that it does not protect drivers from falling passenger numbers and rising gas prices, Uber is returning to its roots: yellow taxis,” NYCWA executive director Bhairavi Desai said in a prepared statement Thursday.

The New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission said Thursday it is always interested in tools that can provide drivers with more economic opportunities.

“We are excited about any proposal to make it easier for passengers to connect to taxis and look forward to learning more about this agreement between Uber and the taxi apps and making sure it complies with TLC rules,” said Ryan. Wanttaja, acting commissioner.

One industry analyst who closely follows Uber went so far as to call the marriage of longtime competitors “pure genius.”

“I think they realized they need each other in the short term,” said Bill Selesky, senior analyst at Argus Research.

Uber has included taxi drivers around the world in its system in recent years. In Spain, the company has integrated taxis in Madrid, Malaga, Valencia and Barcelona. In Colombia, it partners with TaxExpress, which has more than 2,300 active drivers. Half of all Uber taxi rides in Latin America come from the TaxExpress partnership in Colombia. Uber also has relationships with taxi software and fleet operators in Austria, Germany, Turkey, South Korea and Hong Kong.

In New York City, Uber is partnering with technology platforms Creative Mobile Technologies and Curb to eventually have all New York City taxis available on its app.

Anyone with the Uber app has access to thousands of yellow taxis running on the CMT/Arro platform. Taxi drivers will see Uber’s fares on their driver monitors which they already use to serve e-hails from the Arro taxi app.

“Uber has a long history of partnering with the taxi industry to give drivers more ways to earn money and give drivers another transportation option. Our partnerships with taxis look different around the world, and we are excited to partner with taxi software companies CMT and Curb, which will benefit taxi drivers and all New Yorkers,” Andrew Macdonald, senior vice president, Mobility and Business Operations, at Uber, said in a prepared statement.

Creative Mobile Technologies said on Thursday that taxi drivers on its platform, which includes the taxi app Arro, will be able to access Uber’s customer base, allowing them to take more trips and generate more revenue.

Creative Mobile said a beta version for taxis will roll out this spring and reach the general public this summer.

Curb, which offers an app for licensed taxi rides and rentals in North America, said the new agreement with Uber in New York City will kick off, but the partnership will expand to its nationwide network in the coming months.

Drivers on the Curb platform can receive and accept Uber travel offers through their existing in-vehicle systems, in addition to demand for the Curb app and traditional street visits.

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