As part of a two-year pilot program, the Taxi and Limousine Commission has approved a new smartphone app for yellow and green taxis that will allow passengers to get fare pricing upfront, surge-free pricing, and estimated arrival times before they hail a trip.
Waave was created “for New Yorkers by New Yorkers” and is the first app that offers New Yorkers the same level of convenience that other ride-hailing apps like Uber and Lyft offer. A pre-launch is currently allowing people to request early access to the app, and all New Yorkers will be able to begin using Waave as early as next week.
The approval of the two-year pilot program and the Waave app comes on the heels of a recent City Council vote in favor of putting a cap on the number of for-hire vehicles that are allowed on the city’s streets. A series of recently passed legislation will enact the cap for one year, excluding wheelchair-accessible vehicles, while the city studies how the services impact traffic congestion. Additionally, the city will also require ride-hailing app companies to provide data on usage and charges, as well as impose a fine of $10,000 for those who do not comply.
“The increase in for-hire vehicles on New York City streets has slowed traffic to a crawl in many places, increased carbon emissions, and harmed the livelihoods of middle-class taxi drivers who have kept the city moving for decades,” said Waave CEO Daniel Iger. “Our goal is that New Yorkers who care about their city and the things that make it unique like our iconic yellow taxis will join Waave in creating a smarter solution that benefits everyone.”
Addressing concerns that yellow taxis have a history of discriminating against potential passengers and being selective about when they will and won’t fulfill trips to outer boroughs, Waave “ensures that New Yorkers in neighborhoods underserved by traditional taxis and mass transit...know that they cannot be refused service based on race or ethnicity.” All Waave drivers are fully-licensed and insured and have undergone thorough background checks.
Just like every other taxi ride, $0.50 from every Waave ride will go toward the MTA’s transit system, while another $0.30 of every ride will be contributed to the Taxi Improvement Fund, which is dedicated to increasing the number of wheelchair accessible vehicles.