Yassky Zapskys Cabsky Appsky

Not so fast there. A new smartphone app hailed as a tech-savvy way to find a taxi could be a major boon for illegal gypsy cabs.

The ZabKab app, released Wednesday, allows anyone with an iPhone to register free as a driver—even if they’re not licensed by the Taxi and Limousine Commission, according to a story in the New York Daily News.

Livery and gypsy-cab drivers who aren’t legally allowed to pick up street hails could easily apply the same business savvy, which creates “a dangerous situation,” says Ira Goldstein, spokesman for a trade association of drivers & buses that cater to corporate clients.

Brooklyn Heights resident and TLC Chairman David Yassky agrees that ZabKab is problematic: “I have definite concerns about the potential for people to be misled by the app, and for it to encourage illegal hustlers,” he says. The TLC has scheduled a meeting with creator Flatiron Apps to discuss its concerns.

Read the full Daily News story here.

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  • Bloomy

    And by creates “a dangerous situation” they mean the app threaten their business model. Well whoopdeedoo.

  • j

    Apparently Bloomy is okay with just any unlicensed creeper driving around to rob grandma or assault young women.

  • http://iTaxiNYC.com michael

    I agree with the Yassky but, something needs to be done to help the drivers. Our company has been working on the same idea for over 3 years and are about to release in September. This app was put out to quickly, as I said we’ve been working on the same thing and can answer the cities problem much better. Had the owners of this app paid any attention, they would see that what they are doing is much more complex than they thought and thats why they had a bad release. Look for iTaxi to introduce itself to the market this fall and just so you know we don’t charge the drivers or the passengers.

  • David on Middagh

    Bloomy, I think that meterless cars aren’t allowed to self-dispatch because too many customers (tourists, the desperate to get in out of the rain) are vulnerable to price-gouging. I’m not opposed in principle to gypsy cabs, but this isn’t a small town where everyone knows the price of a ride and snakes can be easily tracked down and held accountable.

  • http://www.zabkab.com Martin Heikel

    Statement Regarding Gypsy Cabs* from Martin Heikel,

    co-founder of Flatiron Apps LLC, creator of ZabKab™

    August 10, 2012 – “Our groundbreaking app uses GPS technology to allow cabdrivers and passengers to ‘see’ each other in real time, for the first time in NYC, whether around a blind corner or even if they are a few blocks apart. In this way, people using ZabKab send an electronic hail, with one touch, so that yellow cabs can find them more quickly and easily.

    “Ultimately, the hailing public has the freedom to decide which cab he or she will enter with or without our app, which is designed for yellow cabs that are licensed to pick up hailing passengers.

    “Since its inception, ZabKab has conducted marketing outreach to the operators of yellow cabs exclusively. ZabKab conforms to the rules set forth by the New York City Taxi & Limousine Commission (TLC), and is committed to working with TLC to enhance service to the riding public, while increasing the profitability of yellow cab operators.”

    *‘Gypsy cabs’ are livery car drivers who break TLC rules when picking up hailing passengers, a decades old problem. TLC officers enforce this. ZabKab enables passengers to hail yellow taxis in places where it’s typically more difficult to get one, including areas serviced by gypsy cabs. Over time this should diminish gypsy cabs from ‘poaching’ fares from yellow taxis.

  • Charlie Grotten

    I dont’ get the issue.

    No matter the means, waving your arm in the air, or tapping a button on a smartphone, if the car that pulls up to you isn’t a valid taxi (or even if it is and you don’t like the driver), don’t get in the car.

    There’s a reason that all NYC taxis are yellow, have a medallion on the hood of the car and specific pattern to the medallion number (#A##); and safety is that reason.

  • Abie

    This is a case of it’s not broke so why fix it. No one who wants a taxi really has a problem getting one. There is absolutely no need for this app. All it will do is create confusion and problems for all concerned. Drivers will illegally be turning on their smart phones while driving. Passengers will be approached by rouge taxis with the app. They will also see other available taxis before the app respondent arrives. This will cause friction and altercations.

  • Willowtowncop

    I’m not sure why people think they’re safe just because the cab is licensed. Those guys lend licensed cabs to unlicensed drivers all the time – who really looks that carefully at the driver’s face vs. the tiny pic on the license? You just have to have the mindset that medallion or not, a strange (99% of the time) man is taking you to your house and may be able to deduce personal details from your phone conversation. Getting so drunk that you can’t perceive an attack coming is really stupid.

  • BH’er

    scare-mongers, let the app run and see how it goes…

    if a black cab rolls up with no medallion and you don’t want to get in, why would you?

    cabbie’s won’t want to waste their time chasing skittish fares and people are smart enough to tell a legit cab from a black cab whether they hail with a whistle or an app

    these apps work great in every other city and will be great for the outer boroughs – may take some fine tuning, but good to have the TLC paying attention

    I’m sure Yassky will figure it out

  • j

    BH’er if a random unlicensed car offers to pick you up on the street you are not likely to get in. But the app gives the average user the impression that the cars responding are licensed and vetted. Shouldn’t the app be held to a standard?