While all the buzz in transportation apps and the sharing economy focus on big-picture services like Uber, the mobile app developers at startup Flywheel have quietly launched a smart new platform targeting a more humble issue: the old-school taxi meter.
According to company sources over 80 percent of San Francisco taxis are already working with Flywheel for their hailing feature, making the jump to GPS-based fare calculations and payment processing an obvious step. Flywheel has worked closely with the SFMTA during the service’s development, and the app includes some intriguing features like integration with the SF Paratransit for discounted fare calculation. The SFMTA requires all cabs to integrate with mobile hailing systems, signaling a clear opportunity for taxi tech growth; even for iPhone app developers in NYC and other big cities, as the service is currently still being test-driven in some major cities.
Flywheel’s TaxiOS demonstrates a smart use of the in-app-payments model by making the app available for free even to non-Flywheel taxi drivers. Since most of the company’s profits come from transaction fees any chance to get the technology wider use clearly stands to benefit the company in the long run. Since the platform can accept credit, cash and mobile-based payments, the market is somewhat larger than Uber’s, targeting transportation options that could “fall through the cracks” of other systems. For example, a driver can pick up a passenger hailing the cab in the traditional manner, accept cash, and track the ride via GPS — offering both driver and user the best of both worlds.
Overall, platforms like TaxiOS could signal a profitable future for startups interested in forming alliances with local governances. The use of mobile apps in transportation infrastructure seems primed to become increasingly common. Mobile app developers who follow the trend will surely find many more antiquated systems ripe for adaption.Tags: app monetization, flywheel, free apps, freemium, iOS, mobile operating system, monetization, NYC mobile app developers, sharing economy, taxi apps, taxios, uber