SF Aims for High-Tech Way to Hail a Cab

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
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    SAN FRANCISCO - MAY 04: Taxicabs wait for fares in front of the St. Francis Hotel May 4, 2006 in San Francisco, California. Cab drivers in San Francisco are feeling the sting of high gas prices as filling up tanks cuts into their daily profits. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

    Help may soon be on the way for frustrated cab customers trying to hail a ride in San Francisco.

    The Municipal Transportation Agency, which manages cab operations in the city, is recommending a $400,000 pilot program that would let smartphone users call, track and report any taxi, according to the San Francisco Examiner.  Users would be able to see a map of available taxis, and with the push of a button, call and request the nearest cab.

    Waving down a cab is known to be notoriously tough in San Francisco.  A 2006 Controller's Report shows 33 percent of riders trying to hail a cab on a weekend night waited more than 30 minutes.

    The MTA is in talks with San Francisco-based Cabulous over the technology. The agency would have to seek proposals from all interested companies before deciding on one for the program. Right now, Cabulous has contracts with about 400 cabs in the city. Under the program, the technology would be installed in all 1,500 taxis in the city.  The MTA would cover the cost of the plan for the first year of the program.

    But the proposal is not sitting well with leaders at Luxor cab, who already invested $100,000 in a similar smart phone app called Taxi Magic. 

    Meanwhile, a United Taxicab Workers spokesman says may taxi drivers support the program.