Flywheel to merge real life taxi hails with app technology 

click to enlarge DeSoto’s Sal Albowya, left, applies decals to the first rebranded cab under the Flywheel name as general manager Greg Cochran watches. - MIKE KOOZMIN/SF EXAMINER
  • Mike Koozmin/SF Examiner
  • DeSoto’s Sal Albowya, left, applies decals to the first rebranded cab under the Flywheel name as general manager Greg Cochran watches.
Since its inception, taxi-hailing smartphone app Flywheel has had one foot in the newfangled tech world and the other in the traditional world of taxis.

You can hail a cab using the Flywheel app, but riders hailing a cab by hand still pay with credit cards and cash.

Now that’s changing. Today Flywheel will launch new app functionality allowing cab riders to hail a taxi, get in, and have the app automatically connect for ride payment. “From the passenger’s perspective its the benefit of the seamless experience,” Flywheel CEO Rakesh Mahur told the Examiner.

Mobile phone-app Flywheel is the taxi industry’s answer to Uber and Lyft, transportation network companies that connect vehicles and riders. The new feature lets taxi riders open the app mid-ride, and select “Pay by Flywheel” to pay using the app.

But while this new feature may increase Flywheel use in taxis, drivers The Examiner spoke with were concerned this may allow the tech company to take even more of a cut from driver’s profits.

Flywheel takes about a cut of about 10 percent from a taxi ride hailed using its app. But Mahur told the Examiner they would not take a cut when the app is used only for payment with the new feature.

About The Author

Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez

Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez

Bio:
Born and raised in San Francisco, Fitzgerald Rodriguez was a staff writer at the San Francisco Bay Guardian, and now writes the S.F. Examiner's political column On Guard. He is also a transportation beat reporter covering pedestrians, Muni, BART, bikes, and anything with wheels.
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