Chicago last month became the first city with a universal taxi app service that requires all licensed taxi drivers to participate in while on duty.
Arro and Verifone won the competitive bidding process to provide universal taxi app service in Chicago. The companies’ apps will make it easier for Chicago residents and visitors to hail a taxi and increase consumer choice in safe, reliable transportation options.
“Chicago is a city that innovates and in this spirit I am proud to announce that Chicago will become the first city with a universal taxi app,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “With the new service, Chicago residents can expect to see improved rider experience and better access to taxis all across the city.”
Maria Guerra Lapacek, Commissioner of BACP said, “These apps will create even more transportation options for Chicago residents while benefiting taxi drivers. By mandating that taxi drivers participate, Chicago residents will have additional transportation options and will more easily connect with a nearby taxi through the use of their smartphones, resulting in more fares for taxi drivers.”
The two universal taxi app providers, Arro and Verifone, were selected through a competitive bidding process launched in May 2015. The selected companies demonstrated their ability to provide an app that will include key features such as a secure payment option, estimated wait time, and fare quote estimate.
“We are thrilled to have been chosen by the great city of Chicago as an official taxi e-hailing and payment app,” said Mike Epley, founder of Arro. “Arro, which will provide passengers with access to the largest network of taxicabs in Chicago, is fast becoming the people’s and driver’s choice throughout the country, offering safe, secure quick and reliable service with an honest metered rate.”
“We are proud that Chicago has chosen Verifone’s Curb mobile hailing app and look forward to working closely with the city, its licensed taxi drivers, and its medallion owners to make the universal app a success,” said Sanders Partee, Head of Mobile Programs, Verifone Taxi Systems. “Verifone’s Curb is already connected to more than 4,000 vehicles in Chicago, the largest reach of any taxi-hailing app in the market.”
The city’s nearly 12,700 licensed taxi drivers are required to use either the Arro or Verifone apps while on duty.
As a result of the recently amended taxicab license holder rules and regulations, the credit card transaction fee imposed on taxi drivers was reduced to 4 percent effective Jan. 1, 2016 and will further be reduced to 3 percent starting July 1, 2016, resulting in an additional $375 to $800 in annual income for the average taxi driver.
Taxi drivers are also now entitled to revenue generated by exterior advertising.
The Mayor’s reforms have modernized the city’s taxi fleet. Today, more than 80 percent of taxis are now alternative fuel or fuel-efficient vehicles and the number of wheelchair-accessible taxis has more than doubled since Mayor Emanuel took office in 2011.
BACP oversees the licensing of Chicago’s public chauffeurs and public vehicles including taxicabs, liveries, charter and site seeing buses, horse drawn carriages, ambulances, water taxis and tour boats. The department oversees the purchasing of taxicab medallions, vehicle inspections and rates of fare. Learn more about BACP’s Public Vehicle Operations at www.cityofchicago.org/BACP.
— Chicago’s universal tax app service underway —