Good news, New York; in just a few short months, you'll have a completely new way to ignore your neighbors.
The Taxi and Limousine Commission plans to roll out three new pilot programs that will give the car-pooling experience to people sharing a cab, with two or more passengers riding together to nearby locations in the city.
“If it works, it really could change the dynamics of what happens in terms of moving people around efficiently during rush hour,” Matthew W. Daus, the chairman of the TLC, told The New York Times. “It’s like a car pool.”
Passengers fares will be divided by a new smart meter under one program and could cut the cost down by 50 percent for each rider, according to The New York Post.
Another program will feature six new cab stands installed around the city and taxis will cart passengers through some of the busiest parts during the morning commute for a flat fee. Frequent cabs will run from Grand Central to West 59th and Sixth Avenue at a price of $3 a head, and passengers can get out anywhere they like, according to the Post.
Digital screens atop 1,000 new "sharecabs" will let hopeful riders know where an already-occupied cab is headed and whether it's available for you to jump in and join someone.
The Commission passed all three plans in a meeting Thursday. The TLC said the flat-fare plan could begin by the fall. Designated sharecabs would take longer to put into effect.
The cab share proposal was inspired by methods used during the 2005 transit strike, The New York Times reported.
The TLC will also create livery taxi dispatch stands in busy locations like shopping malls. Livery cabs are not allowed to pick up passengers on the street, but under the new plan a prospective passenger can walk up to a dispatch stand to request a livery cab.
Seems like a win-win situation for all involved; riders get cheaper fares and the TLC brings in more money due to sheer volume. And adding more passengers without adding more cabs sounds very green.