Uber will list New York City taxis on its ride-hailing app in a deal that promises to end years of rancour between the tech company and drivers of the iconic yellow cabs in the biggest US city.
Under the agreement, taxi drivers who use Creative Mobile Technologies’ system to process customer payments will be featured on Uber’s app. The hope is that doing so will connect them to more passengers as the city recovers from shutdowns caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The deal will also give San Francisco-based Uber access to more drivers as it contends with nationwide shortages that have pushed up its prices.
Guy Peterson, Uber’s director of business development, described the pact as beneficial for both drivers and customers.
“This is a real win for drivers — no longer do they have to worry about finding a fare during off-peak times or getting a street hail back to Manhattan when in the outer boroughs,” Peterson said in a statement. “And this is a real win for riders who will now have access to thousands of yellow taxis in the Uber app.”
The agreement marks an extraordinary shift for a technology company whose original reason for being was to undermine the traditional taxi industry.
New York City is Uber’s largest market. But it has endured a rocky relationship with the city. The NYC Taxi & Limousine Commission in 2018 capped the number of Uber and Lyft vehicles that could operate in the city in response to rising congestion and concerns about drivers’ wages.
The city’s taxi drivers, meanwhile, have long complained that Uber and Lyft have destroyed their livelihoods and left them with crushing debts from licensing medallions that have plummeted in value. Their plight worsened in the pandemic, which prompted a virtual shutdown of the city and caused demand for all trips to decline.