New App Acts as Pocket Taxi Meter, Keeps Drivers Honest

By Susannah Griffee
|  Friday, Apr 15, 2011  |  Updated 1:03 PM EDT
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New App Acts as Pocket Taxi Meter, Keeps Drivers Honest

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New Yorkers can now carry their own taxi meters in their pockets.

FairCabNYC, a new iPhone and Android application released by Appiction, lets users track their cab rides.

The free app, which uses GPS, can also estimate how much a ride should cost in advance based on distance and traffic level, and automatically compiles records of every taxi ride’s cost and distance.

“We felt like people in New York should not have to continue paying for information about taxicabs when they pay so much for taxis already,” said Spencer Forrest, founder and CEO of Appiction.

NBC New York tried it out on four cab rides around town.

The app, available here, estimated the actual cost of the rides within $1.

A trip from 30 Rockefeller Plaza to Washington Square Park was estimated at $10.40, and actually cost $9.40.

The app predicted a ride from the park to Grand Central Terminal would cost $7.80 and it cost $8.60.

A cab trip from Grand Central to Penn Station cost $8.60, and the app estimated it exactly. A ride from Penn Station back to 30 Rockefeller was $8.20, and the app got that cost exactly right too.

Although the app shut down a couple of times during the rides, it continued to track the trip after it restarted. However, keeping the app running for an hour and half drained about 50 percent of the iPhone’s power.

Some drivers got a little nervous when they were shown the app meter. Most were quick to point out that drivers are especially careful about meters since about 40 were arrested last year falsely inflating fares.

“It’s not worth it to mess around with the meter. One way or another, you’re going to get caught,” said cab driver Henry Cuello. His fare was exactly what the app predicted it should be.

FairCabNYC has 20,000 users so far.

“It helps people keep track of taxi fares at tax time, it allows people to give each other tips about taxi drivers, and it allows users to track their rides,” said Forrest.

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