Ignoring services like Uber has not worked out well for the taxi industry and responding with violent riots backfired, helping Uber further. Now, the yellow and green have finally agreed that there is something Uber is doing right and competing with them is going take something that traditional cabs have failed to provide for a very long time: a service that people like. Arro is a step in that direction. It’s an Android and iOS app that has many of the same features you would find in the Uber and Lyft apps and it is currently being tested on the roads of New York City.
Arro focuses on two basic scenarios:
- Need a ride? Use the app to request a cab to your location and once a vehicle is assigned, you will get the name of the driver coming to pick you up and their cab number. When the ride is over, you just get out of the cab; payment is automatic.
- Already in a cab? Let’s say you all already piled into a taxi. Suddenly all your lame friends remember that they left their wallets back at the bar. Roll your eyes, shake your head, launch the app, input the clearly displayed taxi code inside the vehicle and payment is automatic once the ride is over. Just exit and go find better friends.
There is one detail that sets Arro apart from their car-sharing competition, and it’s a big one. No surge pricing. Fares will remain the same despite the weather or busy periods. Uber has received a lot of flack for spiking their prices during poor weather conditions or when drivers are scarce. The company claims this is meant to stimulate more drivers to get on the road and is ultimately beneficial to passengers. Whether you choose to believe that pile or not is up to you, but Arro makes it very clear that they are better than that.
Arro may lack the excitement of bringing anything new but it is a smart move by an industry fighting for relevance. Although previous upstart Hailo failed almost exactly where Arro is hoping to thrive, Uber and Lyft should take this riposte seriously. It will of course take more than just Arro to draw customers in and keep them. An easy way to hail and pay for a ride is important, but should be obligatory at this point. Getting a client into a vehicle is just a start, and most Uber users will tell you that their vehicles tend to be cleaner and the drivers, more professional. Cab drivers will have to address this stigma on their end, and do so quickly if they hope to take advantage of the momentum that Arro may provide them.
Currently being tested in approximately 7,000 cabs in NYC, Arro should be rolling out to over 20,000 green and yellow taxis in the city in a couple of weeks. Being someone that outright refuses to use Uber (a story for another time), I look forward to seeing this come to my city sooner than later.
Any of you planning to take Arro for a spin? Let us know in the comments or hail us on social media. Ok ok, I’ll stop… I’m sure these puns are driving you nuts and it’s taxing on me as well.