New app helps NYers hail taxicabs
New Yorkers who have a hard time finding a taxi -- especially at odd hours of the day -- can now hail one with a tap of their smartphone.
A new app promises to unite potential passengers with taxis on the prowl for a fare.
The ZabKab app, which became available for iPhones and Android devices Wednesday from Flatiron Apps, is the first that can be used to hail a cab. The program is actually a pair of companion apps -- one that allows passengers to send out a virtual "hail" using GPS to let taxis know where they are, and another that shows drivers where folks are looking for a ride.
The idea is to help reduce cab-catching frustration for riders, and the amount of time drivers spend looking for customers.
Roland Sanristl, 41, is one of the more than 1,000 drivers who downloaded the app before its official launch. He said that when it's not rush hour, he sometimes spends as much as 25 minutes looking for a fare.
"Once rush hour is over, it's really difficult to get a fare," said the Queens resident. "I think this could be a good tool for drivers."
Flatiron Apps co-founder Martin Heikel said the app was built to be in line with Taxi and Limousine Commission regulations that bar drivers from prearranging pickups or using their phones while on the road.
The app is free for passengers and will cost between $9.95 and $14.95 a month for drivers.
New Yorkers, though, were skeptical as to whether the app would actually be useful in Manhattan. "I definitely see it working in, say, Brooklyn, but not on the main thoroughfares here," said West Village architect Ron Masters, 41, a frequent taxi commuter.