Updated: Sep 11, 2020
Curb, a leading taxi app in North America, has begun its nationwide rollout of upfront pricing for licensed taxis — a landmark move for the taxi industry.
The change is designed to give riders the confidence of knowing what they'll pay before their trips begin, and the feature is now available in New York City and Washington D.C., with more cities such as Chicago, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, and San Francisco to follow in the coming weeks.
As rider habits have changed with the ubiquity of ridesharing apps, Curb has helped taxis stay relevant in an evolving transportation environment by modernizing the rider experience. By providing functionalities that riders have come to expect like e-hailing, ride tracking, contactless payments—and now upfront fares—Curb is continuing to improve the taxi experience to give users a more convenient way to book and ride taxis.
Amos Tamam, founder and CEO of Curb, said: "With the transportation industry changing at such a rapid pace, we are constantly updating and improving our technology for both drivers and riders.
"Today's consumers expect transparency, especially right now, and upfront pricing provides that. By working with our taxi partners to give riders the experience they want and expect, our goal is to propel more trips to drivers and help keep the industry relevant in this pivotal moment for taxis."
As Transportation Network Companies (TNCs) including Uber and Lyft face increased scrutiny from regulators and public markets, taxis are seen to be in a unique position to regain market share. With its emphasis on both the rider and driver experience, Curb is looking to help licensed taxi fleets and drivers across the country meet the demands of today's consumer and thrive in a more competitive environment.
While customers can still street-hail taxis and pay the metered fare with the app, Curb's upfront pricing for e-hail trips gives riders the certainty of knowing what they will pay before they book a ride. Curb's upfront fares are dynamically priced based on live and historical trip data, including metered fares, traffic, and wait times. To ensure fair and competitive pricing for both riders and drivers, Curb's pricing algorithms were tested and fine-tuned across hundreds of thousands of trips as part of a public beta program with essential workers throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, Curb has seen increased driver participation and earnings, as well as shorter wait times for e-hail passengers.
Uchitel Aleksandr, a New York City yellow taxi driver, said: "I've been driving for 20 years, so I was nervous about moving away from the meter.
"But having taken Curb's upfront fares for the last few months, I think it makes a lot of sense. I like knowing up front what I'm going to make on a trip, and I'm making more money overall through Curb."
Curb also claim that upfront pricing will empower riders to compare the cost of taxis to other transportation options, something that was not before possible with metered fares. As ridesharing apps continue to strive for profitability, users of apps have seen a steady rise in rideshare prices. However, taxi prices in major markets like New York City have remained consistent, making them equal to or even lower than the cost of a comparable rideshare trip—even before factoring in surge pricing.