Taxi apps have been at the center of controversy lately, with authorities claiming they violate the law and pose security risks. Due to regulatory disputes, cab startup Uber  was forced to end its service in New York City two weeks ago.
Now, the New York Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) is about to release new rules that would allow these startups to operate in the Big Apple. The authority will require them to work with the city’s own payment and trip-data system, according to the proposal. The companies will also have to obtain a one-year, renewable license from the TLC.
What’s more, taxi apps will have to allow payments with credit cards or cash, and set fares within the city’s Taxicab Passenger Enhancements Project (TPEP) system. In other words, the startups won’t be free to set their own fares. Tips will also be up to the rider (Uber, for example, sets a 20% mandatory gratuity in San Francisco).
The proposal’s first public hearings will take place on Nov. 29, and the Commission is scheduled to vote on the proposed rules on Dec. 13. TLC Commissioner David Yassky said in a statement that he welcomed feedback “so that we can finalize these rules and get apps on passengers’ smartphones by early next year.”
At this point, it’s unclear whether Uber and other companies will accept these conditions, so the future of taxi apps in new York is still up in the air.
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October 31, 2012