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New taxi app pilot program in NYC

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Hailing a cab in New York City is about to become a high-tech experience.

The New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission approved a pilot program Thursday for cab drivers that allows them to accept hails using a smartphone application.

The cabbie who first accepts the virtual hail from a passenger would pick that person up and no one else.

"The driver gets a signal, if they want to pick you up, they tap their phone. You'll see the cab number and will find out the time it will take the driver to get to you," TLC Commissioner David Yassky told GDNY.

In cities where the app program has been used, cabbies were reportedly able to nearly double their fares.

Some of the cons to using the plan is cab drivers and riders cannot, legally, have pre-arranged rides.

Also, there is a concern over the safety of a driver who is using a handheld cellular device while behind the wheel.

"The phone will be mounted on the dashboard. Our rules call for them accepting the fare with just one tap," said Yassky.

The pilot program begins Feb. 15, 2013.

In August, a mobile application called ZabKab was introduced that let people hail a cab using GPS. Approximately 1,000 Taxi and Limousine Commission cab drivers were hooked up to the service which its creators say is in compliance with TLC regulations.  Taxi drivers pay between $9.95 and $14.95 per month.

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