By Bill Parry
Every day, an estimated 8,000 yellow taxis drive without passengers from garages in Queens and Brooklyn into Manhattan to begin their morning and evening shifts.
The drivers spend valuable time on the road with no earnings, while the city deals with another passenger-less vehicle on its clogged thoroughfares.
To solve this under-the-radar traffic issue, yellow taxi ride fares into Manhattan during the morning and evening rush will now be 50 percent off for outer borough commuters using Waave, a new app approved by the Taxi & Limousine Commission that enables New Yorkers to book a cab with an upfront price in the same way as other popular ride-hail services.
The permanent discount will be available during rush hours, from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. and from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. each day. The initiative began Nov. 15.
“We launched Waave to create a better quality of life for both New Yorkers and taxi drivers,” Waave CEO Daniel Iger said. “For the first time, taxi drivers won’t be forced to kick off their shifts with a rider-less multi-borough trip, commuters can get to Manhattan quickly and inexpensively, and we can all enjoy the benefits of less crowded streets and subways.”
Launched citywide in September, Waave is part of the Taxi and Limousine Commission’s upfront fares pilot program, aimed at helping taxis compete with ride-hailing apps.
The program was launched in the wake of studies showing that for-hire vehicles in New York City have surged from 50,000 in 2011 to nearly 130,000 in 2018, but are often without passengers for 70 to 80 percent of the day, slowing traffic to a crawl in many places and increasing carbon emissions.
In August, New York City became the first major U.S. city to place limits on the volume of for-hire vehicles on city streets.
“This offers yet another smart way for taxi drivers to increase our ridership,” cab driver Augie Tang said. “It’s always been nearly impossible to pick up a hail before driving into Manhattan, but now we can finally connect with passengers during what was the least profitable portion of any taxi driver’s shift.”
Passengers and taxi drivers can download the Waave app and visit www.waave.co.
The app was created for New Yorkers by New Yorkers providing upfront fares, surge-free pricing and an estimated time of arrival before passengers hail a trip via their smartphone app.
Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparr