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Council approves city cab-hailing app development

Here it comes.

Houston residents soon will be able to hail a city cab via smartphone app, after City Council signed off on a plan Wednesday to consolidate dispatching in a single program.

The Arro app, already operating in New York, Boston, San Francisco and Chicago, is expected to be fully operational in Houston by the end of the month, combining dispatch for Houston’s 146 taxi companies. The city is requiring all of its roughly 9,000 licensed cab and limo drivers to participate.

“It is innovative. It’s taking advantage of technology that exists to create a centralized dispatch service,” Turner told City Council. “If you go to the airports, you’ve got cabs that are sitting there pretty much six, eight hours a day, waiting on a customer. Under this system, they can be out there servicing Houstonians. They don’t lose their place in line, and when it’s time for them to do something, they get a ping.”

Cab and limo companies had urged the city to develop an alternative to Uber, which dominates Houston’s ride market. Uber and other ride share drivers would not be included in the Arro app.

No taxpayer money will be used to develop or advertise the app, though city staff will coordinate with Arro, and elected officials could devote time to promoting the program.

Riders who use the app would pay $1.50 on top of the cab fare, and drivers would pay 50 cents for each app-generated trip, plus 3 percent of the total fare for a credit processing fee.

See here for the background. I kind of have zero expectations for this, but it does provide a needed service for independent cabbies, it’s being developed on the provider’s dime, and it’s not like it could hurt. I’ll be very curious to see what its download and usage numbers look like in a year.

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One Comment

  1. joshua ben bullard says:

    what kuffner and turner are not telling you is the following =we do not have “146” cab companies in Houston =we have 2400 taxi medallions in which 2000 are owned by one man=that’s the problem = Houstonians Do not want to pay the taxi medallion holder Charles,what turner was supposed to do was eliminate the market entry limits for taxis since its already eliminated for all other vehicle for hires and most other citys have done away with it ,hell even California outlawed the practice and 2 days ago the 7th fed court of appeals ruled that no one could sue a city that has done away with protectionist laws for rich taxi medallion owners= the sole reason why 95% of houstionians take uber is because they want to get the hell away from the taxi medallion = 22$ compared to 55$ to the airport is a no brainer=so this is what Mayor turners plan is =now you the uber rider will now be able to enjoy the luxury of apping an old taxi at a higher price instead of using uber at a nicer car at a lower price = what turner should have done,what he should do now is ABOLISH ALL LIMITS ON MARKET ENTRY FOR VEHICLE FOR HIRE SO THAT UBERS RATES WILL DROP EVEN MORE BY 29% AS TURNER HAS THE LAW SET IN PLACE RIGHT NOW IS =EVERY PERSON IS REQUIRED TO PAY AN ADDITIONAL 29% TO ONE OF 2 MEN EVERY TIME YOU HIRE A UBER OR TAXI BECAUSE mAYOR TURNER IS NOT ALLOWING EVEN ONE PERSON TO HIRE AN UBER DRIVER DIRECT =YOU MUST GO THREW THE UBER APP EVEN THOUGH AL THESE DRIVERS HAVE GONE THREW TURNERS fbi BACKGROUND fINGERPRINTS .TURNER IS NOT MOVING HOUSTON FORWARD ,HES PULLING US BACK.BIG TIME.tHIS APP IS DEAD ON ARRIVAL…