Yellow taxi and Waave app driver Augie Tang 

There are a lot of taxi and ride share apps out there, but newcomer Waave is looking to really make a difference. It’s the first-ever Taxi & Limousine Commission app to offer up-front pricing, which is calculated based on distance and traffic, just like other ride apps like Uber and Lyft. This is all part of a two-year upfront fares pilot program, created specifically for the struggling yellow cab industry which has been hit hard by ride share apps and increased regulation.

To sweeten the deal, you can get 50% all rides during rush hour in the morning and evening from the outer boroughs in Manhattan. And, we have a special signup code for $10 credit just for Untapped Cities readers! Just use code UNTAPPED10 (case sensitive). Waave is also the official transportation partner for the Village Alliance and for small business Saturday, you can get $10 off rides from Greenwich Village or Meatpacking District with the code GVMP on 11/26.

Last Friday morning, we took advantage of one of the 50% off fare time slots to go from our office in Crown Heights, Brooklyn to Columbia University, where Untapped Cities founder Michelle Young teaches in the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation (GSAPP). We rode with Waave founder Daniel Iger, a former BMW engineer and test driver, and taxi driver Augie Tang, a Chinese-American driver who inherited a yellow taxi medallion from his father, who passed away a few years ago. Iger says he saw potential in the taxi industry, with “everyone so focused on Uber and all those ride share companies. But yellow taxis are here, they’re a part of New York, and I thought, they need some technology that can [help them] compete with ride share companies. So we started Waave.” Iger tells us that it took a year and a half to convince the Taxi & Limousine Commission to come on board and test something outside of the meter business.

Iger says that 80% of the time, the fare is lower than the rideshare competition. There’s never any surge pricing, so “it’s always fair,” he says. On the evening of the snowstorm last Thursday, Iger checked the fares from Soho to JFK Airport. “The Uber trip was $250, the yellow cab trip was $55. Soho to Grand Central in Uber was $50, the yellow cab trip was $18.50.” The 50% off outer borough promotion is an attempt to fill cabs that ordinarily drive into or out of Manhattan empty on their first and last trips of the day.

Waave founder Daniel Iger

Tang, who is 34 years old, is one of the early adopters of Waave and has been trying to convince older, skeptical drivers of the opportunity and afraid of the technology. He represents a new wave, no pun intended, of younger yellow taxi drivers and is part of a chat group of other Waave drivers. When his father died, he had to take care of his elderly grandmother so moved in with her in Chinatown. After she passed away at 94, he decided to start driving a yellow cab to pay off his father’s loan of half a million dollars. He drove during the day, and went to school at night. Tang, who has been driving for two and a half years, tells us that the app “has helped us expand our customer base and have a much broader reach to the passengers we can’t see. In the era of Uber, we need any type of advantage we can get. I’m hoping that this will be it, and maybe hopefully, everybody will realize that the income will come and passengers will come.”

Download Waave and use code UNTAPPED10 for a $10 signup bonus, and take advantage of the Small Business Saturday deal (code GVMP) for $10 off your rides from Greenwich Village and Meatpacking District, and get 50% off all rides from outer boroughs to Manhattan during rush hours! 

 Lyft, taxi, Uber, Yellow Medallion taxi

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