By: Sarah Weiss
The Taxi and Limousine Commission is considering several proposals for applications already popular in other cities that allow riders to hail taxis digitally with their smart phones.
The programs, if approved, could revolutionize the way passengers use the yellow cabs.
At least two software developers responded to the request of the city to a proposal to find ways for drivers to pay by mobile phone and to "find taxis available for service near you."
"It is what we call digital radio communication," said Wang Jing Herman, CEO of U.S. GetTaxi, one of the companies that responded to the request of the city.
Application GetTaxi is already in use in the United Kingdom, Russia and Israel and has just received $20 million in funds from billionaire Len Blavatnik to launch in New York.
GetTaxi provides taxi drivers with a system in the car, similar to a GPS unit that tracks the movements of their vehicles.
When a person needing a taxi will press a button on the application on their smart phones, the system looks for a taxi in the vicinity and alerts the driver. The driver can accept or reject the trip.
If the proposal is accepted, the passenger can see in real time on the phone as the taxi makes its way through traffic to the agreed upon pick up point.
A competitor to GetTaxi, Hailo which is very popular in London has a similar system.