Re: [newtech-1] NYTM and NYC Taxis

From: Anthony Z.
Sent on: Thursday, December 6, 2012 10:02 AM
Thanks, Ron.

Great post. Good luck with the regulatory hurdles they're putting out there.

I'm no longer in NYC, but I imagine these apps are revolutionizing the Taxi market.

Tony Zeoli, Founder
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On Thu, Dec 6, 2012 at 9:38 AM, Ron Srebro <[address removed]> wrote:
Hi Everyone,

My name is Ron Srebro and I am the VP Innovation at GetTaxi. I moved to New York in April and ever since I've been following the NYTM mailing list and last night finally had a chance to attend the monthly meetup. 
In the last few months there have been important developments in the taxi market in NYC; changes that will effect every taxi smartphone app vendor, and more importantly every new yorker! Attending last night's meetup was an eye opening experience for me, seeing all the great demos that were presented, seeing the community getting together, and understanding how massive the community is. Even more eye-opening was Mayor Bloomberg's video appearance with Rachel Haut in person, announcing the contest for designing new pay-phones for the city. Mayor's Bloomberg announcement is a testament to the power of the tech community, but also raised a red flag to me about the fact that the city is about to make one of the most important decisions of the last few years without integrating the tech community into the discussion and rule making process. We would like to get the NYTM involved in shaping the future of taxis in the city. Below I've summarized the regulation changes that are proposed. 
We will be hosting a meetup to discuss these rules and technological implications and potential alternatives to them on Monday Dec 9 (Location TBD). The TLC will vote on these rules on the 13th of Dec. so this will be our last chance to make a difference.

In short the Taxi and limousine commission is proposing new rules for the Taxi market that will finally enable use of smartphones for ordering yellow taxis. This is a dramatic change in how taxis will work in the city, and we applaud the effort, but we have reservations.

In short the rules suggest the following:

1. E-Hail apps will be require a license from the TLC to operate
2. E-hail apps that also provide for payment must integrate with TPEP, and payment infrastructure must meet same stringent security standards as TPEP. TPEP stands for Taxicab Passenger Enhancements Program and is essentially the in-taxi TV and credit swiper, driver monitor and a lot of backend modules facilitating credit card payments, data collection and monitoring of taxis by the TLC.
3. TPEP systems are required to integrate all TLC-approved apps
that provide fare payment.
4. Apps including trip payment must identify any service charge
collected by the app separately from the metered fare (gratuities shall remain non-mandatory, and shall be in an amount to be selected by passenger)
5. TPEP is not open to everyone that meets the requirements by the TLC

All of the above sound great on the surface, and the intention is good, but when digging into the rules and how these should be implemented, we see serious issues

1. Each TPEP vendor will develop their own API and app vendors are required to integrate with each of them. Today there are only 2 TPEP vendors but everyone expect that new players such as Square will come into the market.
2. TPEP integration is only required for payments and for E-Hail, which means the usefulness of TPEP as a data collection tool is significantly reduced.
3. The TLC requires that any significant change to the app will require going through the entire licensing process. This is the same requirement that is and was set for TPEP - TPEP didn't change in the past 5 years.
4. The rules require appropriate PCI standards for CC processing on mobile apps, but do not mention what those are, and currently there are no clear PCI standards defined for mobile apps.
5. Apps for drivers can only be active when the vehicle is not moving, greatly reducing the effectiveness of the solution. 

If you want to attend the meetup or just have questions or comments please email me at [address removed]. 

The complete rules are available online on the TLC website in the following links.

Ron Srebro 
VP Innovation GetTaxi
149 Fifth Ave, 8th Fl | New York, NY 10010
M  (646)[masked] | Twitter @ronsrebro

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