Original Article by Intelligent Transport, to view please click here

Curb launches upfront pricing for e-hail rides booked through its app in New York and D.C. as it looks to keep taxis competitive in the ride-hailing market.

U.S. taxi app, Curb, has launched a new pricing scheme it hopes can revolutionise the taxi industry, by offering upfront pricing for trips to passengers.

The decision comes as the company looks to give riders the confidence of knowing what they’ll pay before their trips begin. The new pricing feature is live in New York City and Washington D.C., with more cities such as Chicago, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, and San Francisco to follow in the coming weeks.

In a statement, Curb said that is has “helped taxis stay relevant in an evolving transportation environment” where passenger behaviours have changed, given the adoption of ride-hailing services around the world.

“With the transportation industry evolving at such a rapid pace, we are constantly looking for ways to deliver incremental value for both drivers and riders,” said Amos Tamam, Founder and CEO of Curb. “Today’s consumers expect transparency, especially right now, and upfront pricing provides that. By working with our taxi partners to give riders the experience they want and expect, our goal is to propel more trips to drivers and help keep the industry relevant in this pivotal moment for taxis.”

Taxis are in a unique position to regain market share as ride-hailing leaders Uber and Lyft come under increasing scrutiny from regulators and public markets. While riders can still street-hail taxis and pay the metered fare with the app, upfront pricing for e-hail trips gives riders the certainty of knowing what they’ll pay before they book a ride. The upfront fares are dynamically-priced based on live and historical trip data, including metered fares, traffic and wait times. To ensure fair and competitive pricing for both riders and drivers, Curb’s pricing algorithms were tested and fine-tuned across hundreds of thousands of trips as part of a public beta program with essential workers throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, Curb has seen increased driver participation and earnings, as well as shorter wait times for e-hail passengers.

Upfront pricing will also empower riders to compare the cost of taxis to other transportation options, something that was not before possible with metered fares. As ridesharing apps continue to strive for profitability, riders have seen a steady rise in ride-hailing prices. However, taxi prices in major markets like New York City have remained consistent, making them equal to or even lower than the cost of a comparable ride-hailing trip.

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