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OPINION: With new e-hail apps, yellow taxi drivers have the best of both worlds

October 20, 2017 By Clifton St Juste For Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Clifton St Juste. Photo courtesy of Clifton St Juste
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The iconic yellow taxi is among New York City’s most famous sights — but not everyone knows that taxi drivers now enjoy the same technological capabilities as companies like Uber. Easily accessible e-hail apps for yellow taxis, such as Arro and Curb, have changed the game and enabled taxi drivers like myself to keep making more money while enjoying all the benefits of tech without the problems associated with Uber and its anti-driver policies.

As a father of two young children, I am extremely focused on maintaining a steady income to provide for them and their future. As a taxi driver, that means maximizing my earnings on a daily basis by expanding my ability to quickly pick up more passengers. The use of e-hail apps, combined with the ongoing supply of standard street hails, enables me to do just that. 

It is not an exaggeration to say that using Arro and Curb had an immediate impact on my earnings as a driver. The reality is that combining app-based hails and street hails essentially allowed me to double my opportunities to find passengers. Additionally, new “ride-sharing” programs offered through e-hail apps enabled me to pick up multiple passengers at once, further increasing my daily earnings. 

These E-hail apps are so easy for drivers and passengers to use because they are very similar to what many riders have already used for services like Uber and Lyft. Many people like using the service because they can pay on a stored credit card and do not need cash, and it is important to gain access to these riders — who might have otherwise not taken a taxi — for the first time. More importantly, the technology expands our access to riders because now it is easier than ever for us to pick them up anywhere in the city. 

While these apps are similar in many ways to what is offered on services like Uber, there are also important differences — namely, the fact that we can get the benefits of technology without actually working for a multi-billion-dollar corporation with a terrible labor record. The reality is that we have heard new horror stories almost every week about Uber drivers being shortchanged on their earnings or not having the opportunity to make enough money in the first place. I certainly don’t want to drive for Uber, and why would I? I want to keep my earnings so I can continue supporting my family. 

Additionally, taxi drivers are gaining an edge over Uber on the technology front because, on our apps, there is no surge pricing on rainy days or periods of increased traffic. In the long term, this means that we will likely take on even more riders who become fed up with surge pricing and look for a more reliably priced option. 

The bottom line is that, despite what you might have heard, taxi drivers have it better than ever these days because new technology is bringing us the best of both worlds. We can increase our earnings with new riders through e-hail apps, and we can do it without facing the threat of a company like Uber that doesn’t support its drivers. So, if you’re like me, and you need a steady income, it’s the perfect time to think about driving a yellow taxi with e-hail app technology.


Clifton St Juste is a 31-year-old Haitian-American yellow taxi driver who has been very successful getting passengers through the traditional street-hail and e-hail apps for taxis Arro and Curb.


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