Startups

Philly cabs are getting this e-hailing mobile app in early 2015

The Uber-esque service comes from Verifone, the company that does credit card processing for 90 percent of Philly cabs.
Could an e-hailing mobile app help Philly cabs compete with Uber?

That’s the hope for Way2Ride, a free app from Verifone, the San Jose, Calif.-based company that provides credit card readers and processes credit card payments for 90 percent of Philly cabs.

Right now, you can use the Way2Ride app to pay for cab rides (well, you can try to — as PhillyMag described here this summer — most cab drivers didn’t know what Way2Ride was and the one time it worked, it took three tries).

By early 2015, you’ll be able to use Way2Ride to hail cabs, too, said Duane Deane, Verifone’s director of strategic planning, through a spokeswoman.

The company plans to roll the service out in New York City during the holidays.

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You’ll be able to use it to hail 90 percent of Philly’s 1,600 cabs since those are the cabs that use Verifone, Deane said. In reality, that number will likely be lower, if you take into account how many cab drivers weren’t using Way2Ride this summer, even though Verifone said it was live in all Verifone-equipped cabs.

Verifone is working with CMT, the credit card processor for the remaining 10 percent, to get Way2Ride to work with their systems, too, Deane said.

The Philadelphia Parking Authority plans to explore e-hailing options, says Jim Ney, the agency’s taxi and limousine division director. It’s considering issuing a Request for Proposals for a universal e-hailing app, but for now, it’ll watch how Way2Ride fares, he said.

The PPA didn’t pay Verifone for the mobile app, Ney said.

Cabs and passengers don’t have to pay to use Way2Ride either, Deane said.

He declined to confirm if Verifone gets a cut of every transaction done on its platform (whether it’s through the app or not), though Ney said he believed this was the case.

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When asked if Verifone was generating any revenue from payments made through Way2Ride, Deane said, “Our agreement is with local taxi drivers and fleets, and we do not disclose pricing or information specific to those agreements.”

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