Uber announced plans to begin listing all New York City taxis on its app, a surprise move that is expected to save the city’s struggling yellow cabs.
A limited number of New Yorkers will be able to hail yellow cabs through the Uber app beginning this spring before the feature is fully rolled out over the summer, according to Creative Mobile Technologies, a taxi technology provider and Uber partner.
Customers will pay roughly the same amount for taxi rides as they would for Uber X rides, according to Uber spokesperson Conor Ferguson, who confirmed the news to The Washington Post.
While Uber drivers in New York are unable to see how much a trip will pay before accepting it, the roughly 14,000 cabbies covered by the partnership will be able to do so. According to Uber, when cabbies accept rides through the app, they will be paid on the same scale as Uber drivers.
“Uber has a long history of partnering with the taxi industry to provide drivers with more ways to earn and riders with another transportation option,” Uber’s senior vice president of mobility and business operations, Andrew Macdonald, told The Washington Post in a statement.
In the 2010s, the rise of Uber and Lyft contributed to the plummeting value of taxi medallions, wreaking havoc on the industry and sparking widespread cabbie protests.
After a two-week hunger strike by desperate cab drivers, ex-Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration reached an agreement last fall to cap medallion loans at $170,000.
The agreement also comes at a time when Uber is dealing with a driver shortage and skyrocketing gas prices. Customers who are frustrated by a lack of available vehicles may benefit from the addition of taxis to the app.
Taxis are already available in several cities, including Barcelona and Hong Kong, via the Uber app.