Archives for June, 2013

Drive On: Cambridge loses lawsuit to keep Uber off the roads

 

 File Photo

The City of Cambridge has lost its court battle to overturn the state’s ruling allowing Uber, maker of a smartphone app that customers use for private transportation, to continue operating despite complaints from traditional taxi companies.

A Massachusetts state agency last August initially ordered Uber to cease operations, contending that its system of determining fares based on GPS-location technology was untested. The agency, the Massachusetts Division of Standards, then abruptly reversed itself after an outcry from users and others in the local tech sector reached a sympathetic Gov. Deval Patrick.

The City of Cambridge then filed suit in Middlesex Superior Court, contending that the state ruling allowing Uber to continue operating was “unsupported by substantial evidence, arbitrary and capricious” and “an abuse of discretion.”

The court disagreed. “The City has not demonstrated that the [division’s ruling] is in excess of the Division’s statutory authority, is based on an error of law, is arbitrary and capricious [or] is unsupported by substantial evidence,” wrote Judge Bruce Henry in his June 17 decision.

“We’re pleased with the Superior Court’s decision to uphold the Division of Standards ruling allowing Uber to continue serving hundreds of thousands of riders in the greater Boston area,” said Uber chief executive Travis Kalanick. Adds Barbara Anthony, Undersecretary of Consumer and Business Regulations for the state, “This ruling affirms that our regulatory structure can adapt to changing technologies.”

Elizabeth Lashway, the city attorney for Cambridge, declined to comment on the ruling, and would not say whether the city would appeal. At the time the suit was filed, Lashway told the Globe, “The taxi industry is heavily regulated for reasons of public safety, consumer protection, and fair competition. To allow Uber to sidestep the applicable laws and regulations goes against those principles.”

Uber styles itself as “Everyone’s Private Driver” with an app that allows passengers to summon a ride in one of its sleek, high-end black sedans or SUVs, for example. The app uses a metering system based on GPS-location technology to calculate fares based on time, distance and speed.

Cambridge mounted a sting operation against Uber last year and cited the San Francisco-based company for using a non-conforming measuring device for calculating fares, and for operating an unlicensed livery. Unlike a traditional taxi meter, some government officials say they have no way of knowing if Uber’s system is accurate and is not overcharging people.

Founded in 2009, Uber now operates in several major cities besides Boston, including New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Denver, often drawing complaints from rival taxi services who say it has an unfair advantage because it is not as regulated as cabs.

In Boston, Uber currently charges about $33 for a sedan ride from Downtown to Harvard Square. A regular taxi ride for this trip would run about $22. Uber also cautions customers that, “At times of intense demand, our rates change over time to keep vehicles available.”

NexTaxi app helps to sniff out safe & reliable transportation in a city near you

Posted on: Jun 21, 2013, 3:13pm

By: John V of PhoneArena.com

Most people in big cities rely on public transportation as their means of getting around, seeing that it’s just a hassle trying to maintain having a car or something else similar in a densely packed city. Indeed, using the subway or bus system is one way of traveling on the cheap, but sometimes you just need to hail a taxi cab to bring you to a location at a moment’s notice. Well folks, that’s where the NexTaxi app comes to mind, as it offers users a safe and reliable way of tracking down a taxi in a city near you!

During Pepcom’s mini trade show event held in New York City last night, we managed to get a quick tour of the just recently available app for Android, which basically helps you to obtain a legitimate taxi to your location. For those of you unaware about NexTaxi, the company has an established relationship with many of the taxi fleets across the country – in fact, the figure stands in at10,000 vehicles littered across 100 markets in the US and Canada.

With the app, users are able hail an on-duty driver that’s part of its legit fleet, thus, preventing any unwanted circumstances with some ‘rogue drivers’ that other comparable services might not be aware about. Even better, the NexTaxi doesn’t charge you for other hidden fees, like fare mark-ups, gratuities, and other premium, so you essentially just fork over the amount shown by the meter.

Therefore, if you’re tired of raising your hand or whistling your lungs off to hail a cabby, you ought to give yourself a rest and check out the NexTaxi app. Currently, it’s available for Android devices, with an iOS version in development. You can check out the video below [see full article & video] to get an understanding of what the app is all about.

Why one company has a leg up on Uber in D.C.’s mobile payments battle

Posted on: Jun 18, 2013, 10:22am EDT

By: Bill Flook, Staff Reporter – Washington Business Journal

 

For cab-hailing apps like Uber and mytaxi, the D.C. Taxicab Commission’s latest round of regulations on mobile fare payments represents a huge headache.

For Universal TranWare, the regs are quite the blessing.

Here’s a story of winners and losers. On one hand, you have the upstarts — the “rogue” apps, those companies that allow a rider to hail a cab and pay a fare entirely through a mobile device. Uber’s Taxi service is the best known of them. Those app makers would see a key part of their service — the mobile payment part — at least temporarily shut down under the DCTC’s latest mandate.

Those regulations require the installation of credit and debit card-reading hardware in every D.C. cab by the end of August, while at the same time requiring those “digital dispatch services” to integrate with approved “payment service providers.” In other words: Uber will need to go through a new technological middleman if it wants to keep offering in-app fare payment. It is understandably furious.

Then, the winner: Universal TranWare, a Tucson, Ariz., company that has long provided a wide range of fleet technology, both hardware and back-end software. Universal TranWare is one of the handful of companies to win preliminary approval from the taxicab commission as authorized payment service providers, and is preparing to deploy its card-swiping hardware in the District. Meanwhile, it is rolling out its own e-hailing app, NexTaxi, in D.C.

NexTaxi doesn’t face the same integration challenge as Uber, because in this case, “payment service provider” and “digital dispatch service” are essentially one and the same. While its competitors are racing to conform with the new regulations, Universal TranWare is in the position to deploy its app in the District much faster. Therefore, it has a leg up.

Universal TranWare saw these types of regulations coming — watching what happened in New York — and adjusted accordingly, said CEO Steven Juliver. “We anticipated this is where the regulators were going to go,” he said.

They don’t necessarily agree with the mandate to install backseat credit card swipers, he said. That’s now old technology, and “the new way is by phone.” Still, they aren’t exactly upset about the situation.

“As we anticipated [the DCTC is] going down this path,” Juliver said. “It keeps the ‘rogues’ from being able to participate, if they cant’ interface, if they don’t want to interface.”

 

Bill Flook, Staff Reporter for the Washington Business Journal, reports on NexTaxi, UniversalTranWareBill Flook covers technology, biotech and venture capital.

With NexTaxi, D.C.’s e-hailing market grows more crowded

Posted on: Jun 17, 2013, 10:38am EDT

By: Bill Flook, Staff Reporter – Washington Business Journal

 

NexTaxi, an e-hailing app from Tucson, Ariz.-based Universal TranWare, is busy rolling out in the District, entering a crowded market of cab-tech players that also includes Uber, mytaxi and Taxi Magic.

The app, like its competitors, allows a rider to request a cab and pay a fare from a smartphone. It relies on a different model than its rivals, however, with technology that “connects riders’ requests directly to taxi fleets’ dispatch systems, sending them a nearby for-hire cab,” according to a news release.

There’s an obvious question here as to how NexTaxi will be impacted by the latest D.C. Taxicab Commission’s regulations affecting mobile fare payments. We’ll have more on that subject shortly.

Bill Flook covers technology, biotech and venture capital.

NexTaxi App for Android Lets Taxi Riders Request an On-Demand Cab From Their Smartphone

Free Taxi Ordering App Provides Real-Time Access to Nearest Available Taxi, With No Up-Charges or Fees and Flexible Cash and Secure Mobile Payment Options

Press Release: Universal TranWare – Mon, Jun 10, 2013 7:00 AM EDT

Posted At: Finance.yahoo.com

TUCSON, AZ–(Marketwired – Jun 10, 2013) – Universal TranWare™, the Trusted Taxi Solutions Company™ for fleets and taxi riders, today announced the multi-city launch of NexTaxi™ for Android, an on-demand mobile appthat lets riders instantly request a legitimate taxi with an on-duty driver directly from their smartphone and track its arrival.

NexTaxi’s technology connects riders’ requests directly to taxi fleets’ dispatch systems, sending them a nearby for-hire cab. This method provides more control and a safer, more reliable experience than typical taxi apps — at no additional cost to the rider. NexTaxi is currently active in nearly 50 cities and towns in the U.S. and Canada, including parts of Washington D.C., Chicago, IL; and New York, NY; and throughout Orlando, FL; Lincoln, NE; Augusta, GA and Peoria, IL.

The app gives riders a convenient on-demand connection to more than 10,000 taxis via its rapidly expanding alliance of fleets. The NexTaxi app for Android devices is now available free-of-charge on Google Play.

With NexTaxi, riders can order their taxi on-demand in as few as two taps. They are charged only the standard metered-fare rate. There are no up-charges, user fees or forced gratuities when using the NexTaxi mobile app. As soon as a fleet assigns a nearby car to the rider’s request, the user can visually track the GPS location of their taxi and see car, driver and ETA details directly from their smartphone. Meanwhile users can enjoy the comfort of their home or finish their business meeting while they conveniently monitor their car’s approach — no more waiting by the door, wondering.

“The taxi ecosystem has evolved into the complex and well managed infrastructure we rely on today for good reason. While NexTaxi elevates the rider experience to a new level, it also works within a system that exists to monitor the quality of cars, drivers and fleets, and to protect the safety and wallets of riders,” said Steven Juliver, CEO, Universal TranWare. “Unlike the typical rogue mobile apps on the market today that circumvent fleets, dispatchers and myriad regulatory safeguards, our focus is to significantly improve the taxi travel experience by partnering with fleets to offer riders a nationwide network of respected, established operators. Since the NexTaxi app natively integrates with the existing infrastructure, riders can rest assured that they are protected by all the industry’s consumer safeguards. Universal TranWare has leveraged our 20 year track record of developing and deploying advanced taxi fleet solutions and our strong foundation in mobile technology and secure payment solutions to do this right. We developed NexTaxi with the best interests of riders, fleets, drivers and regulators in mind. We’re raising the bar in the on-demand rider market.”

Beyond requesting a ride and conveniently monitoring your car’s location, NexTaxi includes a suite of passenger-friendly features to enhance and simplify taxi travel. In addition to paying a fare using cash, NexTaxi users can pay securely, in-app, using their business or personal credit cards, and get a detailed email receipt — without ever touching their wallet. Other convenience features include fast address entry by point-of-interest lookup, from an existing contact, or using GPS-based ‘Find me!’, the ability to store favorite locations and routes and to reverse trip ends. The “No!.. Wait!.. Stop!” function recalls the taxi and removes the panic of realizing a personal item didn’t leave the vehicle with you.

To find out if NexTaxi is currently available in your market please visitwww.nextaxi.com. Download the free NexTaxi for Android smartphones at Google Play.

About Universal TranWare:
Founded in 1994, Universal TranWare is an early pioneer and one of the world’s leading providers of advanced fleet management, digital dispatching and mobile payment solutions for taxi and black car fleets across the U.S. and Canada. More than 10,000 vehicles in nearly 100 markets rely on our fleet management technologies and constant innovation to streamline operations and drive efficiencies and growth while enhancing rider satisfaction. Unlike rogue taxi hailing apps, that bypass fleets and prey on loopholes in legislation, the NexTaxi™ app for Android™ devices is absolutely free of charge and is fully integrated with Universal TranWare’s fleet customers’ operations. This model gives riders peace-of-mind and fast, free and secure access to quality vehicles with legitimate on-duty drivers across the country, while empowering them to locate, track and pay for their rides with ease. To learn more visit www.tranware.com. Follow NexTaxi on Twitter at https://twitter.com/NexTaxiApp and Like Us on Facebookat https://www.facebook.com/nextaxi.

Note to Editors: NexTaxi is currently available with select fleets in greater Washington D.C., suburban Chicago, IL, and parts of New York, NY. Please reference the NexTaxi map for a list of cities and towns and NexTaxi ride zones.

Contact:
Media
Susan Donahue
Skyya Communications
(646) 454-9378
susan.donahue@skyya.com
www.skyya.com

New Cab-Hailing App NexTaxi Challenges Bay Area Ride Services

By: Heather Somerville of SiliconBeat
On: June 10, 2013

New cab-hailing app NexTaxi challenges Bay Area ride services

The world of taxi-hailing technology welcomed another new app on Monday, a reminder to rogue hire-a-car services such as Uber that the old yellow taxi cab is still alive and well.

NexTaxi, an app from from Arizona-based dispatch company Universal TransWare, officially launched in about 50 cities. NexTaxi is an on-demand hailing app for city taxi fleets, allowing passengers to call a cab, track the car’s arrival and communicate with the driver, all from a smartphone. Co-founders Steven Juliver and Earl Epstein said the app would be in San Jose cabs in the coming weeks, with San Francisco to follow.

The app is available for Android, with the iOS version coming soon, they said.

Unlike Uber, Sidecar and Lyft, the big Bay Area hire-a-car services, NexTaxi contracts directly with city cab fleets. Fleet operators agree to use the app technology in their cars as another tool for drivers to get fares.

NexTaxi comes to market few years behind Bay Area companies Flywheel and Taxi Magic, which also have similar apps that let riders e-hail a cab rather than stand on the street corner waiting for one to drive by. One notable difference between these apps and startup ride-sharing services like Sidecar — they haven’t raised the ire of public regulator agencies, because they sell only their technology, and not the actual drivers and cars.

Something is different about NexTaxi, though — it doesn’t tack on any extra charges. Passengers pay the same metered fare they would if they hailed the cab on the street. Juliver said the company makes money through software sales to the cab fleets. Flywheel, a San Francisco company which is now in more than 1,000 cabs in the Bay Area, charges riders an extra 60 cents and tacks on a 20 percent tip.

NexTaxi could do well in the Bay Area, where most riders have a smartphone and would prefer to use an app to find a taxi. Flywheel has exploded in popularity since it rebuilt its app technology and rebranded itself last year. But the idea of taking city cabs is still a turnoff to passengers want not just better technology to hail cabs but also an alternative to what many say are dirty city taxis and rude and unreliable drivers. For instance, San Francisco’s Yellow Cab is notorious for not showing up for scheduled pickups; Uber’s clean and quiet rides are a respite to the aggressive driving of some city cab drivers.

Epstein said NexTaxi can help city cabs do their jobs better. His company trains drivers how provide better customer service and works with fleets to upgrade their dispatch systems. He said e-hail apps shouldn’t be seen as a way to squash the traditional cab systems that have been around for decades, but as a resource to help the industry catch up with tech-savvy passengers who are quickly losing patience with outdated cab services.

 

Heather SomervilleHeather Somerville
Heather Somerville reports on consumer affairs, retail and technology for the Bay Area News Group. She lives in San Francisco, where she enjoys rock climbing, yoga and biking across the Golden Gate Bridge.

NexTaxi App for Android Lets Taxi Riders Request an On-Demand Cab From Their Smartphone

Free Taxi Ordering App Provides Real-Time Access to Nearest Available Taxi, With No Up-Charges or Fees and Flexible Cash and Secure Mobile Payment Options

 

 

TUCSON, AZ–(Marketwired – Jun 10, 2013) – Universal TranWare™, the Trusted Taxi Solutions Company™ for fleets and taxi riders, today announced the multi-city launch of NexTaxi™ for Android, an on-demand mobile app that lets riders instantly request a legitimate taxi with an on-duty driver directly from their smartphone and track its arrival.

NexTaxi’s technology connects riders’ requests directly to taxi fleets’ dispatch systems, sending them a nearby for-hire cab. This method provides more control and a safer, more reliable experience than typical taxi apps — at no additional cost to the rider. NexTaxi is currently active in nearly 50 cities and towns in the U.S. and Canada, including parts of Washington D.C., Chicago, IL; and New York, NY; and throughout Orlando, FL; Lincoln, NE; Augusta, GA and Peoria, IL.

The app gives riders a convenient on-demand connection to more than 10,000 taxis via its rapidly expanding alliance of fleets. The NexTaxi app for Android devices is now available free-of-charge on Google Play.

With NexTaxi, riders can order their taxi on-demand in as few as two taps. They are charged only the standard metered-fare rate. There are no up-charges, user fees or forced gratuities when using the NexTaxi mobile app. As soon as a fleet assigns a nearby car to the rider’s request, the user can visually track the GPS location of their taxi and see car, driver and ETA details directly from their smartphone. Meanwhile users can enjoy the comfort of their home or finish their business meeting while they conveniently monitor their car’s approach — no more waiting by the door, wondering.

“The taxi ecosystem has evolved into the complex and well managed infrastructure we rely on today for good reason. While NexTaxi elevates the rider experience to a new level, it also works within a system that exists to monitor the quality of cars, drivers and fleets, and to protect the safety and wallets of riders,” said Steven Juliver, CEO, Universal TranWare. “Unlike the typical rogue mobile apps on the market today that circumvent fleets, dispatchers and myriad regulatory safeguards, our focus is to significantly improve the taxi travel experience by partnering with fleets to offer riders a nationwide network of respected, established operators. Since the NexTaxi app natively integrates with the existing infrastructure, riders can rest assured that they are protected by all the industry’s consumer safeguards. Universal TranWare has leveraged our 20 year track record of developing and deploying advanced taxi fleet solutions and our strong foundation in mobile technology and secure payment solutions to do this right. We developed NexTaxi with the best interests of riders, fleets, drivers and regulators in mind. We’re raising the bar in the on-demand rider market.”

Beyond requesting a ride and conveniently monitoring your car’s location, NexTaxi includes a suite of passenger-friendly features to enhance and simplify taxi travel. In addition to paying a fare using cash, NexTaxi users can pay securely, in-app, using their business or personal credit cards, and get a detailed email receipt — without ever touching their wallet. Other convenience features include fast address entry by point-of-interest lookup, from an existing contact, or using GPS-based ‘Find me!’, the ability to store favorite locations and routes and to reverse trip ends. The “No!.. Wait!.. Stop!” function recalls the taxi and removes the panic of realizing a personal item didn’t leave the vehicle with you.

To find out if NexTaxi is currently available in your market please visitwww.nextaxi.com. Download the free NexTaxi for Android smartphones at Google Play.

About Universal TranWare:
Founded in 1994, Universal TranWare is an early pioneer and one of the world’s leading providers of advanced fleet management, digital dispatching and mobile payment solutions for taxi and black car fleets across the U.S. and Canada. More than 10,000 vehicles in nearly 100 markets rely on our fleet management technologies and constant innovation to streamline operations and drive efficiencies and growth while enhancing rider satisfaction. Unlike rogue taxi hailing apps, that bypass fleets and prey on loopholes in legislation, the NexTaxi™ app for Android™ devices is absolutely free of charge and is fully integrated with Universal TranWare’s fleet customers’ operations. This model gives riders peace-of-mind and fast, free and secure access to quality vehicles with legitimate on-duty drivers across the country, while empowering them to locate, track and pay for their rides with ease. To learn more visit www.tranware.com. Follow NexTaxi on Twitter at https://twitter.com/NexTaxiAppand Like Us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/nextaxi.

Note to Editors: NexTaxi is currently available with select fleets in greater Washington D.C., suburban Chicago, IL, and parts of New York, NY. Please reference the NexTaxi map for a list of cities and towns and NexTaxi ride zones.

 

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