Call for an Uber, Get a Yellow Taxi

New Yorkers ordering a ride on the Uber app could choose a yellow taxi under a new partnership between the ride-hail company and two taxi technology companies.

The taxi option will begin later this spring and will be available to all Uber riders in New York City, Uber said.

Uber riders will pay roughly the same price for a yellow taxi as they would in an UberX car, which is the basic individual ride, according to Uber. They will get a price upfront in the app before they request the trip, as they currently do with all Uber rides.

Yellow cabdrivers who respond to Uber app hails will also see a ride’s pricing upfront and under the deal will have the option to accept or reject it. The partnership between Uber and the taxi companies Curb and CMT was first reported Thursday by The Wall Street Journal.

The Uber-taxi partnership comes as New York City’s embattled yellow taxi industry has been decimated by the coronavirus pandemic as more people have worked from home and many tourists have stayed away.

But even before the pandemic, taxi drivers were losing fares to Uber’s and Lyft’s ride-app services and facing financial ruin after taking out loans to buy medallions — city-issued permits required to own a yellow cab — at inflated prices.

Uber has faced its own challenges during the pandemic, struggling to find enough drivers to meet demand. The new partnership will help alleviate the shortage and also generate more revenue for the company since it receives a fee on every ride ordered through its app.

The new Uber-taxi partnership did not require the approval of the city’s Taxi and Limousine Commission, which oversees the taxi industry, city officials said, though the agency will still have oversight of the rules covering for-hire drivers.

New Yorkers will still be able to wave down yellow taxis in the street.

Uber said it would be providing more details about the taxi option in the coming months. Uber already has partnerships with taxi fleets and technology companies in other global cities, which allows Uber riders to order taxis on the app.

“Uber has a long history of partnering with the taxi industry to provide drivers with more ways to earn and riders with another transportation option,” said Andrew Macdonald, a senior vice president of mobility and business operations for Uber. “Our partnerships with taxis look different around the world, and we’re excited to team up with taxi software companies CMT and Curb, which will benefit taxi drivers and all New Yorkers.”