NYC Car Service Companies Launching Their Own Smartphone Apps To Compete With Uber

In the pre-Uber days of New York City, if you needed a ride to show up at a certain time and location, you’d call a car service in your neighborhood (everyone had their favorites) and arrange for a livery driver to pick you up, instead of risking it and trying to find an available yellow cab. Some of those local car service companies are now turning to their own new technology, introducing smartphone apps to try to compete with the growing presence of Uber.

Because many people prefer simply tapping a few buttons on a screen to calling into a busy, often noisy dispatch center, a few of those neighborhood car companies are adapting to the times and using their own apps, the New York Times reports.

“We have to offer this thing or we’re going to be left behind,” said co-founder of one Bronx car service, who now uses an app as well as fielding requests by phone.

Most of these local companies have relied on loyalty across generations, and that touch of personal service that comes with calling your neighborhood business. A group of car services companies has come together to try to compete with Uber, using a system where each company can have its own app with its own brand, but all the bases are linked to one software system by Limosys Software, a company that has catered to the limousine industry since 1989. This way, companies can pool their cars and serve more customers.

“It’s amazing to see competitors who didn’t speak together in 20 years are sitting in one room learning to talk to each other even when they’re two blocks away,” Issac Yehuda, a co-founder of Limosys Software, tells the NYT.

Drivers seems to be okay with the change, as it’s just one more transformation of cab culture. Heck, at one point drivers had to switch from horse-drawn cabs to cars, right?

“You try to stay flexible,” one 74-year-old driver with 40 years experience told the NYT.

Neighborhood Car Service Companies Adopt Their Own Apps to Fend Off Uber [New York Times]